Do addicts have a choice?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has re-defined what it means to have an addiction.

“At its core, addiction isn’t just a social problem or a moral problem or a criminal problem. It’s a brain problem whose behaviors manifest in all these other areas,” said Dr. Michael Miller, past president of ASAM who oversaw the development of the new definition. “Many behaviors driven by addiction are real problems and sometimes criminal acts. But the disease is about brains, not drugs. It’s about underlying neurology, not outward actions.”

There has been an ongoing discussion about whether addicts have a choice over their behavior. Over the course of two decades of advancements in neuroscience research has shown that addiction affects the brain’s reward, impulse, and control circuitries, which distorts thinking, feelings, and perception, and drives people to continue addictive behaviors.

The same way someone with physical health problems would seek out a doctor who can help them, so too should someone with an addiction problem seek therapy.

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