, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 91–98 | Cite as

Addiction Doesn’t Exist, But it is Bad for You

  • Owen FlanaganEmail author
Original Paper


There is a debate about the nature of addiction, whether it is a result of brain damage, brain dysfunction, or normal brain changes that result from habit acquisition, and about whether it is a disease. I argue that the debate about whether addiction is a disease is much ado about nothing, since all parties agree it is “unquestionably destructive.” Furthermore, the term ‘addiction’ has disappeared from recent DSM’s in favor of a spectrum of ‘abuse’ disorders. This may be a good thing indicating more nuance in typing the heterogeneous phenomena we used to call ‘addiction’.


Addiction Addict Deep learning DSM-5 Lewis NIDA Volkow 


  1. 1.
    Lewis, Marc D. 2015. The biology of desire. Why addiction is not a disease. New York: Public Affairs.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Foddy, Bennett, and Julian Savulescu. 2010. A liberal account of addiction. Journal article. Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology 17: 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kennett, Jeanette, Steve Matthews, and Anke Snoek. 2013. Pleasure and addiction. Frontiers in Psychiatry 4: 1–11. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Flanagan, Owen. 2013. The shame of addiction. Journal Article. Frontiers in psychiatry 4: 1–11.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Flanagan, Owen. 2011. What is it like to be an addict? In Addiction and responsibility, ed. Jeffrey Poland and George Graham, 269–293. Cambridge: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Flanagan, Owen. 2013. Identity and addiction: what alcoholic memoirs teach. In The Oxford handbook of philosophy and psychiatry, ed. K.W.M. Fulford, Martin Davies, Richard Gipps, George Graham, John Sadler, Giovanni Stanghellini, and Tim Thornton, 865–888. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lewis, Marc D. 2011. Memoirs of an addicted brain. Brunswick: Scribe.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Flanagan, Owen. 2017. Willing addicts. In Addiction and choice, ed. Nick Heather and Gabriel Segal. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Vaillant, G E. 2009. The natural history of alcoholism revisited. Book. Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    American Psychiatric Association. 2000. DSM-IV. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition TR. doi:10.1176.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    American Psychiatric Association. 2013. DSM V. American Journal of Psychiatry. doi: 10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596.295735.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    NIDA. The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction: The Basics.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Levy, Neil. 2013. Addiction is Not a Brain Disease (and it Matters). Journal Article. Frontiers in psychiatry 44, 24: 1–30Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Flanagan, Owen. In Press. Identity and Addiction. In The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Science of Addiction. Hanna Pickard and Serge Ahmed, Eds. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Duke UniversityDurhamUSA

Personalised recommendations