The Biology Of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not A Disease

The Biology Of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not A Disease

Paperback | October 4, 2016

byMarc Lewis

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Through the vivid, true stories of five people who journeyed into and out of addiction, a renowned neuroscientist explains why the “disease model” of addiction is wrong and illuminates the path to recovery.

The psychiatric establishment and rehab industry in the Western world have branded addiction a brain disease, based on evidence that brains change with drug use. But in The Biology of Desire, cognitive neuroscientist and former addict Marc Lewis makes a convincing case that addiction is not a disease, and shows why the disease model has become an obstacle to healing.

Lewis reveals addiction as an unintended consequence of the brain doing what it’s supposed to do—seek pleasure and relief—in a world that’s not cooperating. Brains are designed to restructure themselves with normal learning and development, but this process is accelerated in addiction when highly attractive rewards are pursued repeatedly. Lewis shows why treatment based on the disease model so often fails, and how treatment can be retooled to achieve lasting recovery, given the realities of brain plasticity. Combining intimate human stories with clearly rendered scientific explanation, The Biology of Desire is enlightening and optimistic reading for anyone who has wrestled with addiction either personally or professionally.

From the Hardcover edition.

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The Biology Of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not A Disease

Paperback | October 4, 2016
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From the Publisher

Through the vivid, true stories of five people who journeyed into and out of addiction, a renowned neuroscientist explains why the “disease model” of addiction is wrong and illuminates the path to recovery.The psychiatric establishment and rehab industry in the Western world have branded addiction a brain disease, based on evidence tha...

Marc Lewis, PhD, is a neuroscientist and professor of developmental psychology. Now at Radboud University in the Netherlands, he taught for more than twenty years at the University of Toronto. He has authored or coauthored more than fifty journal articles in neuroscience and developmental psychology. Presently, he speaks and blogs on t...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8.24 × 5.51 × 0.69 inPublished:October 4, 2016Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385682301

ISBN - 13:9780385682305

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Editorial Reviews

"Wonderfully readable . . . and accessible in the descriptions of complicated brain science. . . . One finishes The Biology of Desire with a greater understanding of the striata and an appreciation for the argument that we may be thinking about addiction all wrong." —The Washington Post   "Marc Lewis offers a unique perspective on how addiction is seen through the famously misleading distinction between nature and nurture, as though it must be one or the other, when in fact, like most aspects of human life, it is inextricably both." —National Post "An insightful take on the interaction of mind and brain against the backdrop of the addict's life circumstances. . . . The Biology of Desire says a lot about the brain mechanisms underpinning addiction but, to its credit, does not stop there. With minor exceptions, we do not help addicts (and they do not help themselves) by ministering directly to their brains. As Mr. Lewis stresses throughout this unorthodox but enlightening book, people learn to be addicts, and, with effort, they can learn not to be addicts, too." —Wall Street Journal   "Neuroscientist Lewis (Memoirs of an Addicted Brain) presents a strong argument against the disease model of addiction, which is currently predominant in medicine and popular culture alike, and bolsters it with informative and engaging narratives of addicts' lives. . . . Even when presenting more technical information, Lewis shows a keen ability to put a human face on the most groundbreaking research into addiction. Likewise, he manages to make complex findings and theories both comprehensible and interesting. . . . This book, written with hopeful sincerity, will intrigue both those who accept its thesis and those who do not." —Publishers Weekly   "Neuroscientist Lewis delves into the functioning of the addicted brain. He intends to demonstrate that addiction (substance abuse but also behavioral addictions such as eating disorders, gambling, etc.) is not a disease. . . . This objective is met by the detailed life stories of five recovering addicts the author has interviewed. Their descent into the grips of addiction reads like passages of a junkie's memoir: terrifying and page-turning. . . . This work helps make sense of how addiction operates and is recommended for readers wanting to learn more on the topic." —Library Journal "Informed by unparalleled neuroscientific insight and written with his usual flare, Marc Lewis' The Biology of Desire effectively refutes the medical view of addiction as a primary brain disease. A bracing and informative rebuke of the muddle that now characterizes public and professional discourse on this topic." —Gabor Maté, M.D., author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction. "Whether you are looking for a foundation in the neuroscience of addiction, guidelines for recovery or just hope that recovery is possible, it's all here. Informed by this book, you'll see how neuroscience explains addiction as a part of life, rather than a mysterious entity only experts can understand." —Tom Horvath, PhD, president of the American Board of Professional Psychology, Practical Recovery and SMART Recovery, and author of Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate: A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions   "This is the real story of 'this is your brain on drugs' . . . one that provides a refreshing, convincing alternative to the widespread disease-model view of addiction. It offers far more positivity about ways out of addiction than those offered by traditional treatment approaches, providing hope for those struggling and their loved ones." —Anne M. Fletcher, MS, author of New York Times bestselling Sober for Good, Inside Rehab and the Thin for Life books "Highly readable and plausible illustration of current ideas about addiction from behavioral neuroscience and clinical perspectives by the use of vivid case histories." —Trevor Robbins, professor of cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychology, Cambridge University   "Marc Lewis' new book neatly links current thinking about addiction with neuroscientific theory. . . . Ex-addicts, we learn, are not 'cured,' rather they have become more connected to others, wiser, and more in touch with their own humanity. This is a hopeful message that has, as Lewis demonstrates, the advantage of also being true." —Gene Heyman, author of Addiction: A Disorder of Choice.   "A very readable, often touching, gateway into the universe of neuroscience and the shadowland of addiction." —Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) "So much nonsense is spoken about addiction and the brain. If you want to understand what's really happening, read Marc Lewis' clear, insightful and necessary book." —Johann Hari, author of Chasing the Scream   "A courageous and much needed voice in rethinking addiction—Lewis takes addiction out of a disease model and reframes it as a negative outcome of neuroplasticity—simply put, our brains' fundamental nature to change as a result of learning and experience. This model provides realistic hope. . . . Through his intimate personal and professional knowledge of addiction Lewis reframes our understanding of its mechanisms and nature in a way that is empowering." —Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, bestselling author of The Woman Who Changed Her Brain "If you want to understand addiction—and why it matters how the brain actually learns to become addicted—read this book. In elegant and incisive prose, Marc Lewis expertly explains the neuroscience of desire, and how it shapes the paths of our lives." —Maia Szalavitz, author of Unbroken Brain "Lewis has succeeded in explaining a complicated body of evidence and weaving it into an engaging narrative that will be informative and thought provoking for addiction specialists as well as lay readers." —Matt Field, Professor of Psychological Sciences, University of LiverpoolFrom the Hardcover edition.