Cognitive Science Lunchtime Talk
The Puzzle of Addiction
There is increasing evidence against a disease model of addiction and in support of a choice model. But evidently a choice model must solve a puzzle: why, if addicts have choice over drug use, do they choose to use despite the negative consequences that result? I will describe the debate between disease and choice models to bring this puzzle into clear view, and then explain how a choice model can solve it. The solution lies in recognizing the functions that drugs serve, alongside the explanatory importance of a series of interacting factors, including psychiatric co-morbidity, limited socio-economic opportunities, temporally myopic decision-making, denial and motivated irrationality, and self-identity.