Us and Them
Us and Them
This chapter begins with a discussion of people's lack of sympathy and compassion for the plight of alcohol or drug addicts. It explains how most people think that addiction is self-inflicted and how they consciously distance themselves from those with addictive disorder. It then sets out the book's purpose, namely to share some of the amazing advances the neuroscience of addiction has made over the years. The book presents the author's personal take on what addiction is: a malfunction of some of the most fundamental brain circuits that make us tick, and a disease that is not much different from other chronic, relapsing medical conditions. The chapter emphasizes that addiction is not a moral failing, an inability to say no, or a condition that can be cured by mystic incantations. The book also shows that scientific advances have improved, in major ways, the lives of people with addiction, and that they hold out considerable hope for further progress.
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