Addiction: choice or compulsion?
Journal article, Peer reviewed
Copyright: © 2013 henden, melberg and røgeberg. this is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the creative commons attribution license ( c c b y). the use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. no use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
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Original versionHenden, E., Melberg, H.O. & Røgeberg, O.J. (2013). Addiction: choice or compulsion. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 4(77), 1-11. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00077 http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00077
Normative thinking about addiction has traditionally been divided between, on the one hand, a medical model which sees addiction as a disease characterized by compulsive and relapsing drug use over which the addict has little or no control and, on the other, a moral model which sees addiction as a choice characterized by voluntary behavior under the control of the addict. Proponents of the former appeal to evidence showing that regular consumption of drugs causes persistent changes in the brain structures and functions known to be involved in the motivation of behavior. On this evidence, it is often concluded that becoming addicted involves a transition from voluntary, chosen drug use to non-voluntary compulsive drug use. Against this view, proponents of the moral model provide ample evidence that addictive drug use involves voluntary chosen behavior. In this article we argue that although they are right about something, both views are mistaken.We present a third model that neither rules out the view of addictive drug use as compulsive, nor that it involves voluntary chosen behavior.