There has been a long-term debate regarding the association of addiction as a brain disease. Most scientists acknowledge that addiction is a brain disease; however, there are many studies still taking place to disprove this belief. There is no arguing that addictive drugs directly changes the brain, but it can be argued that addiction is a brain disease. Drug addiction leads to behavioral changes that are often destructive and results in irrational behavior. Illicit drug usage has been linked to brain disease for some time; however some studies disprove such theories as a pathological dysfunction and attribute to a social embeddedness. Addiction is not a brain disease, but it does have a long-lasting effect on the ability for one to act and think in a rational manner.
Drugs that are addictive can change the structure of the brain. There have been studies that show the heritability of alcoholism, resulting in addiction as a destructive and persistent configuration of drug use. The dependency on illegal drugs reduces significantly as a function of age, and it would not be probable is the addicts switch from drug to drug. Some users, with both legal and illegal drugs, correspond to the expectations of having a chronic disease. There is a correlation of decision making and a correlation of quitting drugs, but there is not an association of the illness that addiction is believed to be parallel to. “Although self-destructive, irrational behavior can be a sign of pathology, it need not be. The self-help industry is booming, which reflects the tendency of so many of us to procrastinate, overeat, skip exercising, and opt for whatever is most convenient” (Heyman, 4). When an individual goes to a lecture or buys a book to improve their life, there are important factors that need to be acknowledged. The individual knows that there is a possibility to change, they that not taken the necessary steps yet, and that the person was behaving imprudently.
Novels, movies, and plays use human irrationality as a story-line. It is possible to conclude that the neural changes due to drug usage have a minimal role in the persistence of drug use. The hypothesis is testable. It has been determined that all behavior is a genetic basis, it includes all voluntary acts. The brain development and structure shadows the blueprint set by DNA, even the brain’s organ of volunteerism. “Neuroscientists embrace the brain disease model of addiction for an apparent reason: because they have made significant progress in elucidating neural mechanisms and neuroadaptations that are correlated with, and undoubtedly causally involved in, addiction” (Levy, 1). Studies have found that neuroscientists have argued that drug usage causes changes in the brain. Many neuroscientists support the brain disease model of addiction based on simple reasoning. They believe that “because they have made considerable progress in elucidating neural mechanisms and neuroadaptations that are correlated with, and undoubtedly causally involved in, addiction” (Levy 1).
Blaming drug usage on mental illness takes away the blame for addicts and their drug dependency. Levy (2013) argues that because addiction may not count as a disease, based on the fact that drug usages can be attributed to a social condition, rendering it to be optional. What the drug uses is not responsible for such conditions. The author does not discount the fact that the addiction is real, nor does he deny the suffering that they are facing. There is the consideration of when and where the addict suffers from their genuine impairment. The variety of realistic accounts dictates what a good life consists of. Addiction has been known to fail continually with their disorder; however, it cannot define as a normative failing, instead a naturalistically reasonable disease. It’s normal to fail with drug addiction because of the nature of the disease. It is important to be sensitive to the facts associated with illicit drug usage and to respond appropriately to addiction. There is a need to allocate blame between other actors and the dependency. “Addiction is a pathology that involves neuropsychological dysfunction, and it may be appropriate to respond to it by treating this dysfunction (pharmacologically, for instance)” (Levy, 4). In efforts to understand addiction and to address it in the best manner possible, it is important to focus not only on the addiction or the individual, not just their brain. The focus needs to be on the social setting, and how it is influencing the use and dependency of drugs.
Addiction is not a brain disease, but it does have a long-lasting effect on the ability for one to act and think in a rational manner. There is no arguing that illegal drugs have an adverse effect on the brain, but it cannot be diagnosed with a brain disease. There is a social embeddedness that influences drug usage, therefore changing the environment could alter the dependency on drugs. The individual needs to address their issues and also acknowledge the need for change. All too often drug addiction is treated as a brain dysfunction, however basing the addiction as a brain disease fails to address the problem in its proper form. Drug addiction is a very real problem, and addressing the social embeddedness is a significant step in combating the issue.