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To Fix or to HealPatient Care, Public Health, and the Limits of Biomedicine$
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Joseph E. Davis and Ana Marta Gonzalez

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479878246

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479878246.001.0001

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Replacing the Official View of Addiction

Replacing the Official View of Addiction

(p.208) 8 Replacing the Official View of Addiction
To Fix or to Heal

Bruce K. Alexander

NYU Press

This chapter critiques the “official view” of addiction: that addiction is a chronic, relapsing, but manageable disease wherein congenitally vulnerable individuals lose much of their free will after exposure to an intrinsically addictive chemical substance. Alexander argues this official view provides neither an adequate understanding of addiction nor a basis for effective intervention. He offers a radically different perspective, “dislocation theory,” which is holistic on both the personal and social levels. He also argues that the official view has maintained its status largely because its narrowed, reductionist biomedical understanding of addiction protects the modern status quo, by focusing on the need for individual correction rather than for societal reorganization, and by confining the global addiction problem to a relatively small group of “deviants.”

Keywords:   addiction, social factors of addiction, dislocation theory, holism and addiction, disease theory of addiction, biomedical model, medicalization

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