Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Bait And Switch

Megan McArdle at the Atlantic is discussing the meth "epidemic". One of her commenters makes a very good point.

DavidBN 8 hours ago in reply to cobacoba98

One of the myths of drug addiction is that physical dependence is the problem; it's not. Psychological addiction is what ruins people's lives. Many people destroy themselves with substances that have only mild withdrawal effects (like cocaine) while heroin abusers will detox themselves to save money when their tolerance gets too high.
In fact this is the big bait and switch when it comes to discussing addiction. Habituation is confused with addiction. They are not the same thing.

Habituation we can cure. The cure is Detoxification. For addiction? We know nothing. If people chronically use drugs for chronic pain then of course the answer is to treat the pain. One kind of chronic pain that only leaves its scars in the brain is PTSD. As of this point in time there is no known treatment for PTSD other than to keep the patient comfortable (drug them). There are other possible interventions, but so far all we have is anecdotes. Plus there is the problem of researcher bias, "I have found the cure for addiction. I'll be rich and famous. All I need to do is to get the government to outlaw drug addiction." The government is WAY ahead of you buddy.

H/T Instapundit

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