Criticism of The Addiction Model
Critics of the addiction model, most notably Thomas Szasz, have claimed that the concept of addiction is not normatively neutral, but inherently includes a normative component that is arguably out of place in scientific discourse. Szasz cites, for example, Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Theraputics, which defines "drug abuse" as "the use, usually by self-administration, of any drug in a manner that deviates from the approved medical or social patterns within a given culture."In investigating the history of the word "addiction," Szasz finds that until the twentieth century, the term meant "simply a strong inclination toward certain kinds of conduct, with little or no pejorative meaning attached to it."The Oxford English Dictionary includes examples of addiction "to civil affairs" and "to useful reading."Szasz observes that the term has transformed over time into a "stigmatizing label" with "pejorative meaning."Szasz draws an analogy between this stigmatization of minority psychopharmacological habits and the stigmatization of minority sexual habits
Just as socially disapproved pharmacological behavior constitutes "drug abuse," and is officially recognized as an illness by a medical profession that is a licensed agency of the state, so socially disapproved sexual behavior constitutes a "perversion" and is also officially recognized as an illness; and so, more generally, socially disapproved personal behavior of any kind constitutes "mental illness."
Szasz's views have been criticized for failing to account for the effect of physiological dependence.
Read more about this topic: Addiction
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