Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Pastoral Counseling and Addiction

  • David Lee JonesEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9205

In The Science of Addiction: From Neurobiology to Treatment (2007), Erickson argues that the term addiction is too “ill-defined” and “imprecise” to be scientifically valid. He further notes: “You won’t find it mentioned in the best diagnostic manual on mental disorders.” The term addiction, in Western culture, has become so ubiquitous that it refers to anything from entrenched drug or alcohol dependence to compulsive, out-of-control behaviors like “internet addiction,” gambling, sexual compulsion, or obsessive reliance on a cell phone. Erickson notes that the word addiction has become “too broad, too vague, and too misunderstood” to be scientifically useful.

When referring to a person being physically “addicted” to alcohol or other drugs, Erickson (2007) prefers the term “chemically dependent” – meaning the person has a “brain disease.” When a person is using drugs or alcohol in destructive ways but shows no evidence of a brain disease, Erickson prefers the term “drug abuse.” These...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Austin Presbyterian Theological SeminaryAustinUSA