Free Will and Addiction: Do We Really Have a Choice?

Free Will and Addiction: Do We Really Have a Choice?

One of the most common debates is whether or not those struggling with addiction have a choice. Previous research has shown us that there’s a number of risk factors that can make a person more susceptible, such as genetics, environment, onset age of drug use, mental health status and more, but free will is still very much a part of addiction discussion. Much stigma surrounds addiction, as many people do not understand the many factors that can play into it. The idea of free will does have an impact – both on how people discuss addiction, and how those with addiction perceive themselves and their recovery.

A 2017 study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors Report sought to explore the relationship between free will and addiction; the authors discovered that individuals who believe they have less free will are more likely to have a history of addiction to alcohol and/or other drugs. Those that also believe they have less free will to decide are often more likely to perceive other things as addictive. If this is the case, what are the implications of free will for those with addiction?

It’s safe to say that oftentimes, choice is involved regarding first use of substances. But once those substances have made their way into our mind and body, do we still have a choice? Dr. Nora Volkow told the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2015 that free will exits once addiction is involved. She stated, “The person who is addicted does not choose to be addicted; it’s no longer a choice to take the drug…. because of drug use, a person’s brain is no longer able to produce something needed for our functioning and that healthy people take for granted, free will.”

Addiction is such a powerful force that only sincere recovery can help a person move past it.

If you’re ready to begin your journey towards restoration of the mind, body and spirit, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today.

The mission of The Beach House is to provide success in the recovery process and elevate the standard of comprehensive addiction treatment. Located right on the coast of Malibu, California, expert clinical care and a holistic view of the recovery process is provided to ensure Best-in-Class treatment tailored to the needs of each client. If you’re ready to start your recovery journey today, call us at 310-924-0780.

Saving Lives; Healing Families.

Kimberly James

I am the founder and owner of The Beach House Treatment Center, The White House, Indigo Ranch, Sweetwater Mesa and Beach House Center for Wellness, all in Malibu, California.