Disease Concept of Addiction: History

The adoption of a disease concept of addiction carries assumptions about the populations from whence come the addicted, causes and consequences of addiction, designations of who should treat addicts and which professions were responsible for their health and well-being, the progress and prognosis of the disease, and the meaning of addiction for the larger society.

Historical Genealogy of Disease Concept

The genealogy of the disease concept of addiction owes much to the Anglo-American heritage of the disease concept of alcoholism and the medicalization of inebriety and intemperance originating in the 1780s that continued throughout the 19th century. The term addiction was not applied in English-speaking medical circles until the end of the 19th century, a time when the chief cause of narcotic drug addiction was the physician. ...

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