Everybody knows addiction — alcoholism, drug addiction — is a disease. Conventional wisdom and years of reports tell us so.
Research psychologist Gene Heyman says no. Addiction, he says in a provocative new book, is a choice, or a series of choices. It is, he says, voluntary.
Most heavy drug users, for example, break free in their early 30s. Most diabetes sufferers, by contrast, do not.
Heyman’s thesis has drawn furious pushback. We’ll hear it. We’ll also hear him out.
This hour, On Point: Human choice, disease, and the dynamics of addiction.
Joining us in our studio is Gene Heyman, a research psychologist at McLean Hospital and a lecturer in psychology at the Harvard Medical School. His new book is “Addiction: A Disorder of Choice.”
Read an excerpt from the book (pdf).
And from Washington we’re joined by Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health. She has been instrumental in building the case for drug addiction as a disease of the human brain.
Read about the “Science of Addiction” at NIDA
The Toronto Star reported on Heyman’s book in a piece headlined “Addiction: Could it be a big lie?”