Through the vivid, true stories of five people who journeyed into and out of addiction, a renowned neuroscientist explains why the 'disease model' of addiction is wrong, and illuminates the path to recovery.
The psychiatric establishment and rehab industry in the Western world have branded addiction a brain disease, based on evidence that brains change with drug use. But in The Biology of Desire, cognitive neuroscientist and former addict Marc Lewis makes a convincing case that addiction is not a disease, and shows why the disease model has become an obstacle to healing.
Lewis reveals addiction as an unintended consequence of the brain doing what it's supposed to do — seek pleasure and relief — in a world that's not cooperating. Brains are designed to restructure themselves with normal learning and development, but this process is accelerated in addiction when highly attractive rewards are pursued repeatedly. Lewis shows why treatment based on the disease model so often fails, and how treatment can be retooled to achieve lasting recovery, given the realities of brain plasticity. Combining intimate human stories with clearly rendered scientific explanation, The Biology of Desire is enlightening and optimistic reading for anyone who has wrestled with addiction either personally or professionally.
Neuroscientist Lewis (Memoirs of an Addicted Brain) presents a strong argument against the disease model of addiction, which is currently predominant in medicine and popular culture alike, and bolsters it with informative and engaging narratives of addicts' lives. According to Lewis, addiction is neither a choice nor an inherent malady; rather, it is innate to human behavioral biology, a natural adaptation that begins in the brain. After a section introducing Lewis's theory, the bulk of the book shows the concept in action through detailed, intimate case studies. Even when presenting more technical information, Lewis shows a keen ability to put a human face on the most groundbreaking research into addiction. Likewise, he manages to make complex findings and theories both comprehensible and interesting. The focus is primarily on drug dependency, to the extent that readers will wish Lewis had given more explanation of how behavioral addictions (those not tied to substances) fit into his theory. And while therapy is consistently shown as instrumentally restorative, Lewis devotes few pages to describing how the cycle of addiction is broken. Nonetheless, this book, written with hopeful sincerity, will intrigue both those who accept its thesis and those who do not.
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The Biology of Desire
It was a interesting read