addiction is not a disease

We have all heard that alcoholics and drug addicts are sick. We have all heard that addictions are similar to illnesses. However, is it true? According to a well-known neuroscientist called Marc Lewis, addiction is not a disease. We treat is a disease because it’s the label we give to this issue in order to understand it and deal with the negative emotions which come with addiction such as sorrow, shame, and guilt. He then explains that, by treating addiction as an illness, all we are doing is helping addicts out there to get rid of the shame and guilt. And, in fact, to experience these emotions is a powerful motivation towards getting better and getting rid of any addiction.

He explains that an addict can say things like: “I’m sick, there’s nothing I can do about it”. And this also makes people who take care or a part of the addict’s close circle to justify their acts with the excuse that they are sick. This makes them think that the person isn’t doing wrong. And, in fact, addicts who see themselves as sick people think too that they are doing nothing wrong. Which makes them continue to be in this spiral of abuse of drugs, alcohol or damaging behavior. 

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