More people than ever before see themselves as addicted to, or recovering from, addiction, whether it be alcohol or drugs, prescription meds, sex, gambling, porn, or the internet. But despite the unprecedented attention, our understanding of addiction is trapped in unfounded twentieth century ideas, addiction as a crime or as brain disease, and in equally outdated treatment.
Challenging both the idea of the addict's "broken brain" and the notion of a simple "addictive personality," Unbroken Brain offers a radical and groundbreaking new perspective, arguing that addictions are learning disorders and shows how seeing the condition this way can untangle our current debates over treatment, prevention and policy. Like autistic traits, addictive behaviors fall on a spectrum-and they can be a normal response to an extreme situation. By illustrating what addiction is, and is not, the book illustrates how timing, history, family, peers, culture and chemicals come together to create both illness and recovery-and why there is no "addictive personality" or single treatment that works for all.
Combining Maia's personal story with a distillation of more than twenty-five years of science and research, Unbroken Brain provides a paradigm-shifting approach to thinking about addiction.
MAIA SZALAVITZ is one of the premier American journalists covering addiction and drugs. She is co-author of Born for Love and The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog , both with Dr. Bruce D. Perry. Her book, Help at Any Cost is the first book-length exposť of the "tough love" business that dominates addiction treatment. She writes for TIME.com, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Scientific American, Elle, Psychology Today, VICE, and Marie Claire among others.