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How thinking about addiction differently can help us find better treatments

Addiction can be devastating not only for the addict themselves, but also for their loved ones and anyone around them. But what causes it, and how should we treat it? According to Dr Elias Dakwar, a psychologist based at Colombia University, New York, we should be looking beyond the commonly held brain disease model of addiction and deeper into its philosophical or existential underpinnings. In this episode, we speak to Dr Dakwar about the years of clinical research he outlines in his latest book The Captive Imagination: Addiction, reality and our search for meaning. He tells us about his thinking on how addiction stems from our desire for happiness and feelings of meaningless, how it fits in with the notion of personal freedom, and details some of his work with clinical patients in treating addiction in new ways. Warning: Recreational drug use can be dangerous to your health and possession of certain controlled substances in the UK can result in an unlimited fine, prison sentence or both. For more information visit Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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