Our History of Addiction’ (opinion)

Hear mention that someone Is it an ‘intervention’, ‘hit rock bottom’ or ‘relapse’, few people reading this will need to do research to follow up on the implications. Ideas and expressions related to addiction and recovery are now fully integrated into the shared culture, the shared references through which we understand and navigate in everyday life.

This is, in general, rather strange. This was not always the case. And it was accompanied by an amplification of the term “addiction” itself. Originally limited to dependence on a very narrow set of substances, it now applies to any compulsive behavior considered undesirable. (As usual, onionsHis satirists entrenched this trend early with the title: “I’m like a chocoholic, but for Bose.”)

This occasional reference to addiction may reflect a general increase in public awareness of the problem, which in the United States includes approximately 14.5 million people with alcohol use disorder, as well as three million opioid addicts. But acknowledging the reality of addiction and directing rational attention to it are very different from Carl Eric Fischer Motivation: Our History of Addiction (Penguin Press) Underscores this difference with an interesting narrative filled with promising developments and missed opportunities.

the author is Professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, also an addict. He admitted that much from the start and filled in the details along the way, keeping the memoir aspect secondary to his project. the desire It is a narrative history of ideas, policies, and practices that have emerged over the centuries. The book focuses mostly on the substance’s dependencies, but quotes “The Gambler’s Lament” from the Rig Veda, an ancient Indian book, as a clear evocation of the addict’s experience: scorching, striving to burn, giving (temporarily) like a child, then in turn slapping the victor, infused with honey, By force … they roll down, then quickly spring upward, forcing the man with his hand to serve with them.” The same words may apply to a syringe or tube.

This struggle for control after losing it (again and again) runs through Fisher’s narrative of being a young resident psychiatrist at a prestigious university hospital while he was bonded to various stress-relieving substances. He didn’t ruin his career, or self-destruct, thanks in large part to the medical community’s judgments to take care of himself: Special treatment programs exist for dealing with addicted physicians. Fisher writes, “In rehab, he met with physicians who had been back there for a second or even third time, and who, on schedule, had relapsed after their five-year observation contracts expired.” (The situation has its perks.) A recurring focus in the book is on social inequality as it concludes in the stigma attached to certain intoxicants—eighteenth-century gin, for example, or cocaine more recently—and the oppression of its users, while others have a reputation when Be backed by well-established industries, such as… heroin?

Yes, heroin. “It was first mass-produced on a commercial scale in 1898, by the Bayer Company,” notes Fisher, “initially praised as a safe and modern alternative to morphine” until it became associated with[the] A poor teenager, often of immigrant parents, is unintelligent, greedy and rude, increasingly uniting with others like himself in the new urban phenomenon of ‘threatened gangs’. Which has pushed people with fewer resources towards smaller informal markets in sub-counties – mixed-race urban slums where authorities have separated gambling, prostitution, salons and other objectionable occupations.” A drug is known to be dangerous when taken by people who are considered dangerous, hence the cycle vicious.

to close what is Too short article to do the desire Justice, I should note, its layers of literary, social, medical, and political narratives challenge any understanding of addiction that reduces it to one-dimensional causes or promotes a single therapeutic approach or outcome. “It is not that addiction is or is not a brain disease, a social disease, or a global response to suffering,” Fisher wrote. “It’s all of these things and none of them at the same time, because each level has something to add but can’t tell the whole story.” He did not find “a single dominant cause of addiction, or even a group of causes that reliably explain why some people develop addiction.”

This does not mean that nothing can be done about it. Chapter after chapter provides accounts of what were in many cases beneficial treatments. But the other side of the story consists of efforts to impose another approach or prohibition on different political, economic and moral grounds. The best we can say is that “the diverse influences intersect in a complex and dynamic matrix, changing drastically from person to person, and even changing over the course of an individual’s life,” Fisher concludes. It should be part of the general understanding of addiction that one size does not fit all.

Leave a Comment