Choice vs Disease

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Addiction choice or disease
This essay will look to outline the different arguments in that; addiction to a substance is a choice of one’s free will, or is it a disease element in our bio chemical or physical make up? It will consider, if addiction extends from genes inherited from parents or forefathers, or if it is a learned behaviour through day to day lifestyles, and changes through growth from tots to teens, to youths, then to adults. It will also seek to analyse how different approaches and points in this relevant argument can be debated in the academic and medical world, with the views and discussion of recognised professionals in the study of addiction. The definition of addiction ad-dic-tion (noun) is ‘the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physical habit forming to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma (Dictonary .com, 2012) One valid stance is that addiction is a chemical imbalance in Deoxyribonucleic Acid (D.N.A) (Wachuku, 2003, p. 199); any toxin or chemical artificially entered into the bloodstream may have a more serious effect on certain human beings than others. It could be argued that some are able to tolerate these toxins or chemicals without becoming addicted, whilst others quite easily fall into addiction, whether it is to alcohol, prescribed drugs, illegal solvents, stimulants, hallucinogenic or anti-depressants. Dr Robert West Professor of Health Psychology University College London States in his book Theory of Addiction that “dysfunctional motivation as a moment to moment control, through reflexes, impulses, inhibitions, desires, drives and emotions, are inherently unstable and subject to constant balancing” (West, 2006, p. 211). West also points to the ‘PRIME’ theory in, Plans, Responses, Impulses, Motives, and Evaluation. At every moment we act in pursuit of what we most want or need at that moment. (West, 2006). This would move towards the choice theory, stating that it is our own making and doing what we pursue to do at that moment of choice to fulfil our needs or desires for pleasure or fun. However, the ability to make rational choices whilst in the throes of addiction could be open to debate. Another staunch advocate of the choice theory is Stanton Peele. Dr. Stanton Peele presents a program for addiction recovery based on research and clinical study, and grounded in science. His program utilizes proven methods that people actually use to overcome addiction, with or without treatment. In his book, ‘7 Tools to Beat Addiction’ he offers in-depth, interactive exercises that show how to outgrow destructive habits by putting together the building blocks for a balanced, fulfilling, responsible life. Dr. Peele’s approach is founded on ‘Tools, Values, Motivation, Rewards, and Resources. Support, Maturity and Higher Goals’ this is a no nonsense guide aimed at putting the addict in charge of their own recovery. (Peele, 2004) .Further evidence has been stated by Heather and Robertson: Even the most severely alcoholic individuals "clearly demonstrate positive sources of control over drinking behaviour" so that "extreme drunkenness cannot be accounted for on the basis of some internally located inability to stop" (Heather & Robertson, 1981, p. 122). Intriguingly, controlled-drinking theorists like Heather and Robertson propose exceptions to their own analyses: Perhaps "some problem drinkers are born with a physiological abnormality, either genetically transmitted or as a result of intrauterine factors, which makes them react abnormally to alcohol from their first experience of it" (Heather & Robertson, 1981, p. 144). According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) alcohol is the world’s third largest risk factor for disease burden; it is the leading risk factor in the Western Pacific and the Americas and the second largest in Europe (WHO, 2011). Teens, youths, and adults, thrill seeking for a good time, will turn to alcohol, or...
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