Is Addiction a Disease or a Choice?

Most would agree that people with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using and need treatment to stop. Author, Jeffrey A. Schaler would disagree. In his book “Addiction Is a Choice” he states that ‘addicts’ are in control of their behavior. Further he believes that most people will mature out of addiction without treatment. Rather than a Disease Model, he proposes a Free-Will Model of addiction. Listen to a group of people, who were formerly dependent upon opiates, as they give their opinions on whether addiction is a disease or a choice. Where do you fall on this spectrum?

Discussion Guide:

Was it your choice to abuse drugs, or were you compelled to abuse substances because you have a disease?

Is addiction a disease? If so, in what way?

Is addiction primarily an environmental problem, a psychological condition or a biological condition?

When does recreational drug use turn into an addiction?

Are you able to use substances in moderation?

Can you stop a dependency on substances by your own will-power?

Is treatment necessary?

Supplemental Reading:

Addiction is a Choice, Jeffrey A. Schaler, Open Court Publishing Company, 2000

Addiction is a Disease, John H. Halpern