Addiction - Criticism of The Addiction Model

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

Famous quotes containing the words criticism of, model, criticism and/or addiction:

    Cubism had been an analysis of the object and an attempt to put it before us in its totality; both as analysis and as synthesis, it was a criticism of appearance. Surrealism transmuted the object, and suddenly a canvas became an apparition: a new figuration, a real transfiguration.
    Octavio Paz (b. 1914)

    ...that absolutely everything beloved and cherished of the bourgeoisie, the conservative, the cowardly, and the impotent—the State, family life, secular art and science—was consciously or unconsciously hostile to the religious idea, to the Church, whose innate tendency and permanent aim was the dissolution of all existing worldly orders, and the reconstitution of society after the model of the ideal, the communistic City of God.
    Thomas Mann (1875–1955)

    A bad short story or novel or poem leaves one comparatively calm because it does not exist, unless it gets a fake prestige through being mistaken for good work. It is essentially negative, it is something that has not come through. But over bad criticism one has a sense of real calamity.
    Rebecca West (1892–1983)

    All sin tends to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is what is called damnation.
    —W.H. (Wystan Hugh)