Addiction As A Disease - The Choice Argument

Week 2 - The short film below is an excerpt from a documentary about addiction called "Pleasure Unwoven" by Dr. Kevin McCauley from the Institute for Addiction Study. The documentary as a whole explores the question of, "is addiction really a disease?" and presents arguments both for and against this theory. The documentary turns complex neuroscientific concepts into easy to understand visual images that will help people in recovery feel better understood and their families and friends feel hope that recovery is possible.

In this second installment, Dr McCauley looks at "The Choice Argument." This argument suggests that addiction cannot be classified as being a disease because drug taking is a behaviour and all behaviours are choices. In this film, Dr McCauley portrays the scenario that an alcoholic or addict can choose to not pick up a drink or drug – albeit in a situation where they are faced with the consequence of being shot if they do! It is an extreme example, but one that does make sense.

Dr McCauley states that a similar threat could not be made to someone suffering from diabetes or cancer as they do not have the choice to be suffering the symptoms of their illness, like the alcoholic or addict does, thus strengthening the choice argument suggesting addiction cannot be classified as a disease.

However, he states that although the argument is a good one, it is flawed and he talks about this further in the films later in this series. He concludes by stating, “Is addiction a disease or a choice? The short answer is addiction is a disease of choice,” as the part of the brain where we make decisions does not function as it should in an addict.

It is important to receive a scientifically reliable and evenly weighted education on this topic in order to override the often misconceived perceptions that the person suffering from addiction may have about themselves and their illness, particularly in early recovery.

If you want to find out more about the services we offer for the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction, then please explore our website and Facebook page and contact us with any queries that you may have either via email, our contact page or by calling us on 01795 431751 or 07875 413111.


Updated On Monday 4th September 2017

Add Comments

Recovery Lodge literally saved my life. I was a physical and emotional wreck when I checked myself in and the combinations of


Read all Testimonials