More people than ever before see themselves as addicted to or recovering from addiction, whether it's alcohol or drugs, prescription meds, sex, gambling, porn, or the Internet. But despite the unprecedented attention, our understanding of addiction is trapped in unfounded 20th-century ideas, addiction as a crime or as brain disease, and equally outdated treatment.
Challenging both the idea of the addict's "broken brain" and the notion of a simple "addictive personality," Unbroken Brain offers a radical and groundbreaking new perspective, arguing that addiction is a learning disorder, and shows how seeing the condition this way can untangle our current debates over treatment, prevention, and policy. Like autistic traits, addictive behaviors fall on a spectrum - and they can be a normal response to an extreme situation. By illustrating what addiction is and is not, the book illustrates how timing, history, family, peers, culture, and chemicals come together to create both illness and recovery - and why there is no "addictive personality" or single treatment that works for all.
Combining Maia Szalavitz's personal story with a distillation of more than 25 years of science and research, Unbroken Brain provides a paradigm-shifting approach to thinking about addiction.