The MWS Podcast 78: Marc Lewis on why addiction is not a disease

Our guest today is Dr Marc Lewis, a developmental neuroscientist and currently a professor at the Radboud University in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. For many years his work centred on dynamic systems approaches to understanding the development of emotions and personality but recently he has perhaps become most well known for his account of his own personal experience of drug addiction Memoirs of Addicted Brain and merging that with the neuroscience of addiction. In his latest book The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is not a Disease he argues that seeing addiction as a disease is not only incorrect but also harmful and this will be the topic of our discussion today


MWS Podcast 78: Marc Lewis as audio only:
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About Barry Daniel

I live in the Lake District in the UK where I run a guesthouse with my partner Kate and my cat Manuel. I enjoy painting, hillwalking, reading, visiting and entertaining friends, T’ai Chi and playing the guitar. I’m engaged to a certain degree in the local community, as a volunteer with Samaritans and I’m a fairly active member of the local Green party. I’ve had a relatively intuitive sense of the Middle Way most of my adult life but it found a greater articulation and a practical direction through joining the society. It’s also been interesting and great fun engaging with other people with a similar outlook. My main contribution to the society is conducting the podcast interviews, something that gives me a lot of satisfaction and that I’ve learnt a lot from.

One thought on “The MWS Podcast 78: Marc Lewis on why addiction is not a disease

  1. What I find particularly interesting about the learning model of addiction that Marc puts forward is its recognition of the importance of personal responsibility as part of recovery. It steers a course somewhere between the deterministic oriented disease model, where the addict is arguably viewed as having no real responsibility, is pretty helpless and must therefore put their recovery largely in the hands of others. On the other extreme, there is the choice model which in its extreme form is based on an absolute view of free will. In this model, the addict is often seen as selfish and morally suspect based on a completely unrealistic view of our ability to make choices. As Marc explains, taking responsibility for one’s own recovery is essential, but it’s an understanding of responsibility that is incremental, compassionate and realistic. As one reviewer (Gene Heyman) noted on the back cover of the book ‘This is a hopeful message that has, as Lewis demonstrates the advantage of also being true’

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