Substance addiction: cure or care?

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-20 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Substance addiction has been historically conceived and widely researched as a brain disease. There have been ample criticisms of brain-centred approaches to addiction, and this paper aims to align with one such criticism by applying insights from phenomenology of psychiatry. More precisely, this work will apply Merleau-Ponty’s insightful distinction between the biological and lived body. In this light, the disease model emerges as an incomplete account of substance addiction because it captures only its biological aspects. When considering addiction as a brain disorder, it will be shown that research fails to account for the contextual, functional, and emotional aspects inherent to subjective health. It is concluded that, while the disease model is fundamental to our understanding of what happens in the brain, its brain-centred approach is cure-oriented. Instead, we suggest a care-orientated approach, which understands and treats the psychological feel as bodily experience situated in an environment, allowing for a more encompassing therapeutic perspective.

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Inês Hipólito
Macquarie University

References found in this work

Phenomenology of Perception.Aron Gurwitsch, M. Merleau-Ponty & Colin Smith - 1964 - Philosophical Review 73 (3):417.
Participatory sense-making: An enactive approach to social cognition.Hanne De Jaegher & Ezequiel Di Paolo - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (4):485-507.
On the distinction between disease and illness.Christopher Boorse - 1975 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 5 (1):49-68.

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