The addiction affliction

Slate has just published an article I’ve written on the over-selling of addiction. It discusses how difficulties with doing some things to excess – shopping, sex, internet use – are being increasingly described as addictions due to a perfect storm of pop medicine, pseudo-neuroscience, and misplaced sympathy for the miserable.

Like a compulsive crack user desperately sucking on a broken pipe, we can’t get enough of addiction. We got hooked on the concept a few centuries back, originally to describe the compulsive intake of alcohol and, later, the excessive use of drugs like heroin and cocaine. Now it seems like we’re using it every chance we can get‚Äîapplying the concept to any behavior that seems troublesome or ill-advised…

This creeping medicalization of everyday life means that almost any problem of excess can now be portrayed as an individual falling foul of a major mental illness. While drug addiction is a serious concern and a well-researched condition, many of the new behavioral addictions lack even the most basic foundations of scientific reliability.

Link to Slate article ‘The Addiction Habit’.

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