What Is Addiction?


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.

Contributors: 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

Table of Contents

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Introduction: What Is Addiction?

    Don Ross and Harold Kincaid

  3. 1. Neuroeconomics of Addiction: The Contribution of Executive Dysfunction

    Warren K. Bickel and Richard Yi

  4. 2. Neurobiology of Pathological Gambling

    Jennifer D. Bellegarde and Marc N. Potenza

  5. 3. Genetic Influences on Addiction: Alcoholism as an Exemplar

    James MacKillop, John E. McGeary, and Lara A. Ray

  6. 4. Addiction as a Breakdown in the Machinery of Decision Making

    A. David Redish

  7. 5. Economic Models of Pathological Gambling

    Don Ross

  8. 6. Addiction: A Latent Property of the Dynamics of Choice

    Gene M. Heyman

  9. 7. Addiction and Altruism

    Howard Rachlin

  10. 8. The Core Process in Addictions and Other Impulses: Hyperbolic Discounting versus Conditioning and Cognitive Framing

    George Ainslie

  11. 9. Measuring Dispositions to Bundle Choices

    David Spurrett and Ben Murrell

  12. 10. Neural Recruitment during Self-Control of Smoking: A Pilot fMRI Study

    John R. Monterosso, Traci Mann, Andrew Ward, George Ainslie, Jennifer Bramen, Arthur Brody, and Edythe D. London

  13. 11. Anticipatory Processing as a Transdisciplinary Bridge in Addiction

    Mark S. Goldman, Jack Darkes, Richard R. Reich, and Karen O. Brandon

  14. 12. Impulsivity and Its Association with Treatment Development for Pathological Gambling and Substance Use Disorders

    Nancy M. Petry

  15. 13. Medical Models of Addiction

    Harold Kincaid and Jacqueline A. Sullivan

  16. 14. Addiction and the Diagnostic Criteria for Pathological Gambling

    Neil Manson

  17. 15. Irrational Action and Addiction

    Timothy Schroeder

  18. 16. Defining Addiction and Identifying the Public Interest in Liberal Democracies

    Peter Collins

  19. Contributors
  20. Index