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Addiction - Cultural Category or Biological Reality?

  • Date Submitted: 05/03/2010 05:29 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 39.8 
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Is Addiction a Cultural Category or a Biological Reality?


The concept of addiction has evolved significantly at the turn of the century. From alcoholism or drunkenness that was regarded as a brain stimulant, “drug addiction” has become one of the most combated problems in the society. Perceived as a prevalent disease in the community, physicians and scholars were encouraged to study addiction’s position and scope.
The history of addiction plays an important role in identifying whether it can be considered either as a cultural category or a biological reality. Accordingly, the changing interpretation of addiction with each turn of the century serves as a light towards the end of discovering the appropriate measure of finally dealing with the challenge by initially finding out its absolute definition. It is by its definition when addiction will finally be combated or defeated. As such, it becomes the basis of the society’s awareness that which identifies addiction’s real score in the society.

History of Addiction

      The 21st century definition of addiction that is being used and accepted in the society today has undergone various transitions. Originally in the 16th century, the term addiction implied simply of one’s devotion, an inclination to a person or practice. There was never a negative connotation that is associated with the term. Addiction at that time may be attached to God, as well as it could equally be attached to lust. A servant may also be called addicted to his master. Yet, the sense of intensity and permanence was always implied. (Krivanek, 2000) It is also at this period of the century when heavy drinking was never associated with addiction. Even with great volumes of alcohol that were drank on occasions such as weddings, christenings, funerals and others, this has neither produced troublesome nor stigmatized behaviours that affected society. (Levine, 1978)
      According to Levine (1978), the negative association of...


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