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. 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. As a result, most treatment based on the disease model fails. Lewis shows how treatment can be retooled to achieve lasting recovery. This is enlightening and optimistic reading for anyone who has wrestled with addiction either personally or professionally.
About the Author
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 topics in addiction science, and his critically acclaimed book, Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines His Former Life on Drugs, is the first to blend memoir and science in addiction studies.
Dr. Lewis... a former addict who recovered to become a distinguished neuroscientist and author ... writes engagingly about the addictive experience, the recovery experience and the science behind them. 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. The scientific information is presented in the context of day-to-day behavior and the lives of individuals you will come to care about. You'll learn more about neuroscience (and human development and psychology) than you may have thought possible. 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, Ph.D., President of ABPP, Practical Recover, and SMART Recovery and author of Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate: A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions
Marc Lewis's new book neatly links current thinking about addiction with neuroscience theory and artfully selected biographies. 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: Disorder of Choice
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
Informed by unparalleled neuroscientific insight and written with his usual flare, Marc Lewis's The Biology of Desire effectively refutes the medical view of addiction as a primary brain disease. A bracing and informative corrective to the muddle that now characterizes public and professional discourse on this topic.Gabor Mat, M.D., author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction
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.... [T]his work helps make sense of how addiction operates and is recommended for readers wanting to learn more on the topic.Library Journal