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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

You can’t treat addiction with willpower and denial

November 7, 2013 - Addiction is an equal opportunity disease. It can affect the educated, the uneducated, the rich as well as the poor. What is certain is that it destroys families and society if left untreated.

Everyone has their own understanding of this terrible condition that can affect up to 15 per cent of the population. Loved ones and addicts themselves often frame it as moral failure or weakness because despite multiple apologies and promises to do better, the addict continues to relapse with the associated secrecy, lying, stealing, shame and guilt. Few look at the scientific advances to better understand this brain disease that robs individuals of their ability to resist the behaviour be it alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs or gambling. The consequence is the deterioration of the addicted person physically, psychologically and morally, and not the other way around as is commonly understood. 

Click here to read the entire article featured in the Globe and Mail.

Written by Dr. Peter Selby, Chief of Addictions, CAMH

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