What Is Addiction?

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Don Ross, Harold Kincaid, Peter Collins, David Spurrett
MIT Press, 2010 - Medical - 448 pages
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Leading addiction researchers survey the latest findings in addiction science, countering the simplistic cultural stereotypes of the addict.

The image of the addict in popular culture combines victimhood and moral failure; we sympathize with addicts in films and novels because of their suffering and their hard-won knowledge. And yet actual scientific knowledge about addiction tends to undermine this cultural construct. In What Is Addiction?, leading addiction researchers from neuroscience, psychology, genetics, philosophy, economics, and other fields survey the latest findings in addiction science. They discuss such questions as whether addiction is one kind of condition, or several; if addiction is neurophysiological, psychological, or social, or incorporates aspects of all of these; to what extent addicts are responsible for their problems, and how this affects health and regulatory policies; and whether addiction is determined by inheritance or environment or both. The chapter authors discuss the possibility of a unifying basis for different addictions (considering both substance addiction and pathological gambling), offering both neurally and neuroscientifically grounded accounts as well as discussions of the social context of addiction. There can be no definitive answer yet to the question posed by the title of this book; but these essays demonstrate a sweeping advance over the simplistic conception embedded in popular culture.

George Ainslie, Jennifer D. Bellegarde, Warren K. Bickel, Jennifer Bramen, Karen O. Brandon, Arthur Brody, Peter Collins, Jack Darkes, Mark S. Goldman, Gene M. Heyman, Harold Kincaid, Edythe D. London, James MacKillop, Traci Man, Neil Manson, John E. McGeary, John R. Monterosso, Ben Murrell, Nancy M. Petry, Marc N. Potenza, Howard Rachlin, Lara A. Ray, A. David Redish, Richard R. Reich, Don Ross, Timothy Schroeder, David Spurrett, Jackie Sullivan, Golnaz Tabibni, Andrew Ward, Richard Yi


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The Contribution of Executive Dysfunction
2 Neurobiology of Pathological Gambling
Alcoholism as an Exemplar
4 Addiction as a Breakdown in the Machinery of Decision Making
5 Economic Models of Pathological Gambling
A Latent Property of the Dynamics of Choice
7 Addiction and Altruism
Hyperbolic Discounting versus Conditioning and Cognitive Framing
11 Anticipatory Processing as a Transdisciplinary Bridge in Addiction
12 Impulsivity and Its Association with Treatment Development for Pathological Gambling and Substance Use Disorders
13 Medical Models of Addiction
14 Addiction and the Diagnostic Criteria for Pathological Gambling
15 Irrational Action and Addiction
16 Defining Addiction and Identifying the Public Interest in Liberal Democracies

9 Measuring Dispositions to Bundle Choices
A Pilot fMRI Study

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About the author (2010)

Don Ross is Professor of Economics and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Professor of Economics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Harold Kincaid is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Ethics and Values in the Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. David Spurrett is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Cognitive Science Program at the Howard College Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Peter Collins is Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Centre for the Study of Gambling at the University of Salford, U.K.

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