Yale University

Individuals Are Continents; or, Why It's Time to Retire the Island Approach to Addiction.

TitleIndividuals Are Continents; or, Why It's Time to Retire the Island Approach to Addiction.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsTootle, William, James Ziegler, and Merrill Singer
JournalSubstance use & misuse
Date Published2015 Mar 16
AbstractIndividuals are not island isolates. This is an old insight that finds expression in indigenous worldviews, ancient philosophies, religious doctrine, and modern social theories. Even so, science remains encumbered by the false dichotomies and reductionism inherited from the capitalist revolution and reinforced by the fragmentation of modern life. This same heritage encumbers addiction research and efforts to devise effective interventions. It does so because the island concept at its core filters out the most decisive factors contributing to addiction. We therefore recommend its replacement with what we call the continental concept of the individual, which conceives of society and the natural environment as extensions of individual corporeal bodies. Such a theoretical reorientation has significant implications for intervention research and practice. More specifically, it radically expands the scope of what constitutes a valid intervention in the first place. We call this reorientation the continental approach to drug addiction.
Alternate JournalSubst Use Misuse

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