Alcoholism: Is it a disease, or bad choices?

Alcoholism: Is it a disease, or bad choices?



The battle rages on.

Addiction is a disease.

Addiction is a choice.

Dr. Jason Powers, a board certified addictionologist and family physician, champions the disease model.

“The suffering is miserable,” Powers told a crowd of about 60 alcohol and drug abuse counselors at NAU’s du Bois Center back in August. “Addiction, living in addiction, is a living hell.”

There is no “choice” in addiction, any more than there is choice in diabetes, he added. Powers’ talk focused on the disease of addiction, based in part on his book, “When the Servant Becomes the Master.”

On the other hand, Gene Heyman, a psychologist who teaches at Harvard and Boston College, asserts in his latest book, “Addiction: A Disorder of Choice,” that addiction is indeed just that — a choice. A very complex choice with a number of psychological, social and maybe even biological variables.

“Some say addiction is a choice,” Powers said, adding that the classification as disease absolves people of responsibility in the matter, according to critics. Yet, that same sentiment does not appear to cross to diseases like diabetes, or colon cancer, which can be brought about by choosing a poor diet. Read More…


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