As Stanford University’s acclaimed psychologist Albert Bandura declared in a major research review, “alcohol abuse is not a monolithic condition with an inevitable progression” but rather, “a multi-determined pattern” varying from person to person in its severity and causation.
ARTICLES & PRESS
The DSM-5 is scheduled to come out some time in 2013. There is no better illustration of how addiction in society continues to be pathologized, medicalized and pharmaceuticalized (which is directly related to political and economic influences and not science) then by the proposed changes made by the DSM-5.
The DSM-IV recognized two categories for substance related disorders, distinguishing between substance abuse and substance dependence. Most people in the addiction field regarded substance dependence as addiction which was not accurate. Neither did the word addiction or alcoholic or any of the behaviors like sex, love, Internet porn, shopping, overeating or gambling appear in this book.
However, the DSM-5 will replace these two separate categories with the emotionally loaded, and socially misunderstood word addiction. Now, rather than having this distinct separation based on specific criteria, the DSM-5 will be adding more potential symptoms and requiring someone to present with even less of these symptoms in order to be diagnosed as being addicted. This is not based on science. This is based on subjective and arbitrary creativity that will specifically benefit the rehab industry and the pharmaceutical industry while labeling as addicts millions of people who may have not met any of the criteria for any substance related problem prior to this new addiction category being introduced.
Why the Dopamine Theory of Addiction is Misleading
Most people are enamored with science and scientific research. When the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) promotes the theory of the neurotransmitter dopamine and dopamine receptors being the “cause” of addiction, there are a few things that people should understand. I will address all these points in my educational DVDs and book which will be available soon. In the meantime you can email me for further elaboration on these key observational points:
1) In scientific research, correlation does not equal causation.
2) In scientific research, outcomes may be reliable, but not valid.
3) Contradictory scientific research from both neuroscience and social science has been largely ignored.
4) Laboratory experiments on animals in controlled environments cannot be generalized to prove cause on complex subjective human experiences.
5) Neurological testing devices like PET scans and MRIs only reveal brain activity and function. They do not observe cells, neurons, or neurotransmitters like dopamine. Only brain tissue observed under a microscope can do this.
6) How would drug induced controlled animal experiments prove that love, sex, alcohol, shopping and gambling are caused by the same biological theory?
7) The science of addiction is theory. Some theories are more useful than others. Nevertheless, there is no absolute singular cause that has ever been discovered.
8) In 40 years of scientific research there has not been any scientific evidence to support the theories that alcoholism is caused by an allergy, there is a missing gene, or that chemical imbalances are responsible for addictive behavior.
9) Interpersonal neurobiology theorizes that the brain is shaped and formed from social experiences and through the processes of neural plasticity and neurogenesis can change brain functioning by changing the way someone thinks and believes.
10) Long term opioid use for pain management shows a small percentage of people that become addicted.. If long term drug use as reported by the NIDA changes the brain on a cellular and molecular level and causes the brain to change and produce addiction, why does the long term use of drugs used for chronic pain not do the same thing?
11) If long term drug use changes the brain, why are drugs prescribed to children whose brains are still developing?
However, our culture has been indoctrinated to believe that anyone that has problems related to drinking or drugs is necessarily a chronic and progressively disordered person that has no choice but to except that they have a biological disease from which recovery is life long. This is simply not true. If it were, the majority of college students and young adults that frequent clubs and party in excess would be considered to have serious alcohol and drug problems, but research shows that binge drinking behavior ceases for the majority of young adults once they leave college. It has been this way for generations.
Furthermore, addictions to eating, gambling, the Internet, shopping, relationships, or a variety of other behaviors are just that…behaviors that are used as coping methods to numb and mask psychological and emotional distress. While it is true that someone who becomes so preoccupied with the Internet that they no longer live a normal functional and productive life obviously has some brain related issues, it is unscientific, unproven and not very reasonable to define and conceptualize these types of addictive behaviors as diseases and treat them in the same way as drugs and alcohol.
AA and 12 Step programs are not the problem in the recovery industry. It is the reliance upon them to be a one size fits all treatment approach for all people for all addictive behaviors regardless of any or all circumstances that could logically explain someone’s need for their behavior. This has been the case for 50 years despite scientific research that has been conducted for decades and that concludes that all people are different and that a unitary disease model and the same treatment approaches are not suitable for everyone. That’s assuming they have been assessed and diagnosed properly from the start. Again, if you are someone that has benefited from these approaches, great. The reality is that most people do not, but unfortunately are forced into these forms of treatment because that is simply the way the system is set up. Many people need help. The rejection of one form of treatment should not be seen as non-compliance, or that a person is not ready to stop their behavior, rather, there needs to be additional options made available based on the latest information.read more about me