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Addiction and ChoiceRethinking the relationship$
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Nick Heather and Gabriel Segal

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727224

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727224.001.0001

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What addicts can teach us about addiction

What addicts can teach us about addiction

A natural history approach

Chapter:
(p.385) Chapter 21 What addicts can teach us about addiction
Source:
Addiction and Choice
Author(s):

Gene M. Heyman

Verna Mims

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727224.003.0021

According to the spokespersons for US federal health institutes, addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease, yet every US survey of the prevalence and correlates of psychiatric disorders shows that the majority of those who meet the DSM criteria for addiction are in remission. For illegal drugs, remission typically occurs by age 30, whereas for cigarettes and alcohol dependence typically persists well into the 40s. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the evidence says that remission after age 30 is stable. Since most addicts do not seek treatment, logic implies that everyday experiences must promote positive change in addicts. In support of this logic, research shows that the correlates of remission include economic pressures, family obligations, and values, such as the desire to be a better person. In light of the research on how drug dependence ends, interventions should focus on factors that encourage addicts to make positive non-drug choices.

Keywords:   addiction, choice, remission, correlates of remission, disease

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