Is Addiction A Disease Or A Choice Essay

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Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Addiction is normally thought of as drug abuse and alcoholism but people can also be addicted to things such as gambling and sex as well. The controversy on if addiction is a disease or a choice is a continuous debate. Everyone has an opinion on this topic, one side believes it’s a disease, while the other believes it is a choice. Although addiction has been assumed to be a lack of willpower and a weakness, addiction is actually a complex disease that changes the wiring of the brain. Addiction is a brain disease expressed in the form of compulsive behavior (Leshner.) Both devolping …show more content…

A disease is what happens in the body as a result of those choices. As has been noted, many people do believe addiction is a sign of weakness. While the first time may be by choice, once the brain has been changed and affected by addiction. Over time the addict loses substantial control over his or her initially voluntary behavior, and it becomes compulsive (Leshner.) In Marc Branch’s “Drug Addiction. Is It a Disease or Is It Based on Choice? A Review of Gene Heyman’s Addiction: A Disorder of Choice” he discusses and explains Gene Heyman’s opinions on rather addiction is a disease or not. Heyman argues that people do not choose to be drug addicts, rather they make choices that lead to their habit of addiction. Heyman however does not believe addiction is an actual disease. Many others argue that addiction is not an actual disease because people can overcome the addiction without help or treatment. On the other hand, in Alan Leshner’s “Addiction Is a Brain Disease” he declares that addiction is an actual disease and explains “using drugs repeatedly over time changes brain structure and function in fundamental and long-lasting ways that can persist long after the individual stops using them” …show more content…

Addiction, like other diseases, has the tendency to be genetic. “Addictive drugs induce adaptive changes in gene expression in the brain’s reward regions” (Bevilacqua and Goldman 359–361). The disease is also influenced by environmental conditions and behavior. Addiction genes can be passed down through family members of many generations. If one has addiction in their genes tries a drug and someone who does not have addiction in their genes and tries the same drug, it is more likely that the person with the gene will become addicted over the one without. Environmental conditions can also be a factor because someone’s lifestyle could contribute to addiction. Factors such as stress and peer pressure can influence drug or alcohol abuse. Behavior can also contribute to addiction because if a person’s attitude is obsessive and they have an addictive personality, they could become addicted to a substance. In “Addiction is Not a Disease” Daniel Akst explains actual diseases are Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia, not addiction. For example, Akst mentions that “addicts tend to quit when the going gets hard” (Akst.) He also clarifies that addicts have the choice to have that extra drink or those extra pills every

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