Can We Help Addicts Become More Autonomous? Inside the Mind of an Addict
Bioethics 2003 October; 17(5-6): 542-554
I examine the impact of addiction on autonomy in terms of the standard literature on addiction--referred to also as `substance dependence.' Then in terms of the criteria for substance dependence, by developing a set of practical strategies to help people with addictions think more clearly, I test the idea of whether addicts can be helped to become more autonomous. Given that unsuccessful attempts to quit constitute part of the criteria of substance dependence, I look at what goes wrong when people try to quit using a substance. The subjective experience of addiction is an important aid in understanding addiction and first person accounts and literary characterisations of addiction provide insight into the addict's mind and assist us in deciding whether addicts can be helped to become more autonomous.
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