The myth of the drug-habit: defining addiction as a disease

Singer, Bryan (2016). The myth of the drug-habit: defining addiction as a disease. In: Newton, David ed. Youth Substance Abuse: A Reference Handbook. Contemporary World Issues. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, pp. 158–163.



The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines disease as "a condition that prevents the body or mind from working normally" and addiction as a "compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance" (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary 2016). In contrast, depression is "a seriosu medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way." The dictionary makes it clear that depression is a disease. Concerning addiction, it's a bit ambiguous, even though drug abuse prevents the "body or mind from working normally." We need to stop talking about drug abuse as simply a bad habit, and instead start discussing how to treat and prevent addiction as an illness.

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