Article on Addiction submitted by Dr. Henry Virkler
There are two competing paradigms for understanding substance dependence. One theory is that it’s a disease caused by certain genetic predispositions. The other is that’s its an unhealthy set of choices caused by inadequate coping mechanisms.
This article is a good discussion of both of these viewpoints and the evidence for each.
Although substance abuse is not my specialty it seems to me that these two theories are not mutually exclusive and that both could be true, i.e., that some people have genetic predispositions to become quickly addicted to substances (there may be different predispositions that lead to preferences for one substance or another), that some people may turn to drugs because they don’t know how to cope with the stresses of life in healthier ways, and that for some people, both of these might be true. Especially for those who work in the substance abuse field, I’d be interested in learning what you think.