across studies and do not offer strong support for claimsthat energy-dense food is‘addictive’or that obesity shouldbe characterised as a brain disease (Ziauddeen et al.2012).ADDICTION RESEARCH & THEORY2018, VOL. 26, NO. 4, 249–255
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However, I argue that these attempts to frame obesity as anaddiction-likebraindiseaseexposeamorefundamentalweakness in the BDMA. We could accept that both addictionand obesity are characterised by changes in the structure andfunction of the brain, and that these changes reflect a conse-quence of chronic exposure to rewarding, pleasurable stimulithatinturnincreasethemotivationtoconsumethoserewards whilst reducing the ability to control behaviour. Butif these brain changes are indeed an inevitable response tothe repetition of pleasurable acts (rather than something spe-cific to addictive drugs), then the more parsimonious explan-ation is that they are a completely‘normal’and predictablereorganisation of the structure of the brain and change in itsfunction, rather than hallmarks of a‘disease’. This is theargument favoured by Marc Lewis which can account for thebrain changes that characterise addiction, overeating, and allmanner of behavioural addictions such as problem gambling(Lewis2017).Challenging the brain disease model of addictionfrom a recovery perspectiveDavid Best and Anna KawalekTheAmericanNationalInstituteonDrugAbuse(2008)states that addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain diseasecharacterised by compulsive drug seeking and use, despiteharmful consequences. While this biology-based definition ofaddiction aims to‘alleviate the moral judgement, discrimin-ation and stigma associated with drug use’(Seear2017,p. 1), evidence suggests that the BDMA has only furtheredthe stigma associated with addiction, leaving addicts increas-ingly vulnerable to exclusion and marginalisation (Heather2017b).The emergence of a recovery paradigm has challenged theconceptualisation of addiction as a biologically-driven phe-nomenon rooted in human pathology. Evidence indicatesthat recovery is a social experience, occurring within socialcontexts which change recovery experiences at a subjectivelevel, with the emphasis on the social and on strengths.There is a high prevalence of recovery; Sheedy and Whitter(2009) showed that, on average, over half (58%) of alcoholor other drug addicts recover (with variability), whilst in arecent survey of recovery in Canada 51%of participantsreported achieving stable recovery at their first attempt inspite of entrenched addiction, challenging both the chronicand the relapsing components of the model (McQuaid et al.2017).There is also evidence that recovery is more than simplythe reversal of addiction. Hibbert and Best (2011) demon-strated that those in long-term recovery were‘better thanwell’with higher life quality following recovery than‘typical’non-addict populations, challenging the idea that recovery isa return to a homeostatic zero (Lewis2017). Similarly, the
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