Addiction Through Three Different Perspectives

Jhoan Esteban Osorno, Carli Varmette, Kathryn Wells


There are many negative misconceptions tied to addiction that prevent addicts from receiving proper treatment. One of the most common misconceptions is that any type of drug consumption will result in addiction, or that all drug users are addicts. One of the challenges that is faced when discussing addiction is that every discipline may have a different perspective on addiction. An interdisciplinary perspective more holistically investigates a person’s decision to consume drugs. Biologists view addiction as a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by changes in the structure and function of the brain that results in behavioral changes. Similarly, psychologists believe that addiction is a behavioral manifestation of the malfunction of the brain’s normal processes, resulting from chronic drug consumption. Economists, in accordance to some psychologists, argue that a person can be identified as an addict given their rational behavior. These specific disciplines were chosen because biology focuses on chronic consumption, economics focuses on behavioral consumption and psychology provides a strong bridge between the two. We conclude with a discussion of how these disciplines might jointly inform a discussion on the efficacy of drug prevention and drug treatment. Relapses are common, and a good treatment outcome should be a significant decrease in drug use with only occasional, if any, relapses. To achieve this, the most effective treatment might be a combination of multiple approaches stemming from each discipline.


Addiction, Chronic Brain Disease, Behavioral Disorder, Rationality

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