Addiction is a Disability, and it Matters

Neuroethics 14 (3):467-477 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Previous discussions of addiction have often focused on the question of whether addiction is a disease. This discussion distinguishes that question – the disease question – from the question of whether addiction is a disability. I argue that, however one answers the disease question, and indeed on almost any credible account of addiction, addiction is a disability. I then consider the implications of this view, or why it matters that addiction is a disability. The disease model of addiction has led many to see addiction as primarily a medical problem, and to make medical treatment of the addicted person the first priority in addressing addiction. Once addiction is viewed as a disability, different concerns are foregrounded. The problem of addiction resides not only in the addicted person, but also in the social environment in which the addicted person finds herself. The fundamental ethical question about addiction is not how addicted persons can be treated or otherwise changed, but how a just society can make reasonable accommodations for addicted persons.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 77,952

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Addicted to Food, Hungry for Drugs.Bennett Foddy - 2010 - Neuroethics 4 (2):79-89.
The Word for an Addict in Geneva.L. M. Perry - 2014 - Christian Bioethics 20 (1):80-96.
Drug addiction and criminal responsibility.Jeanette Kennett, Nicole A. Vincent & Anke Snoek - 2014 - In Neil Levy & Jens Clausen (eds.), Handbook on Neuroethics. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 1065-1083.
Addiction is not a brain disease (and it matters).Neil Levy - 2013 - Frontiers in Psychiatry 4 (24):1--7.


Added to PP

43 (#278,505)

6 months
13 (#86,240)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

John T. Maier
Lesley University

Citations of this work

Substance addiction: cure or care?Nicola Chinchella & Inês Hipólito - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-20.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Health as a theoretical concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.
How to define theoretical terms.David Lewis - 1970 - Journal of Philosophy 67 (13):427-446.
The Minority Body: A Theory of Disability.Elizabeth Barnes - 2016 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
How to Define Theoretical Terms.David Lewis - 1970 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 36 (2):321-321.
Three theses about dispositions.Elizabeth W. Prior, Robert Pargetter & Frank Jackson - 1982 - American Philosophical Quarterly 19 (3):251-257.

View all 16 references / Add more references