The Relationship Between Addiction And Free Will: Lack of Belief In Choice May Impede Treatment

In This Article

The Relationship Between Addiction And Free Will: Lack of Belief In Choice May Impede Treatment

It is the belief among many that those who are addicted to substances do not have the ability to make choices or exercise free will – but this is a controversial topic among health care providers. And recent research posits that an absence of belief in free will can actually impede addiction treatment.

From the study:

“A widespread view among health professionals is the idea that addiction is a disease caused by problems when the brain encounters certain foreign substances commonly known as addictive drugs.”

Andrew Vonasch, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, set out to examine the link between addiction and free will and included multiple follow-up studies which identified how people believe that addiction can hinder free will.

The research investigated whether or not the absence of belief in free will could encourage people to perceive temptations as more addictive than they really are, and if most people believe addiction impedes their free will only when it suits them.

The findings revealed that most people DO believe that addictive substances hinder their free will, and they also use this belief to associate reduced free will to actions perceived as negative, more so than positive.

Vonasch also stressed that people who have strong beliefs in religion or are conservative politically are more likely to believe in free will and be more anti-drug use than non-religious liberals. And those individuals who believe less in free will were more apt to admit to being a past daily drinker.

The author’s conclusion:

“People believe that drugs undermine free will, and they use this belief to self-servingly attribute less free will to their bad actions than to good ones. Low belief in free will also increases perceptions that things are addictive.”

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology


Xarelto and Alcohol | Just Believe Recovery Center

Xarelto and Alcohol

Xarelto (generic rivaroxaban) is a blood thinner commonly prescribed to prevent blood clots and heart arrhythmia. Without treatment, these disorders can cause strokes, so the

Read More »
How to Get off Adderall | Just Believe Recovery Center

How to Get off Adderall

A doctor or addiction specialist should always be involved during Adderall withdrawal. Uncomfortable side effects can manifest in those who discontinue the drug’s use too

Read More »
Just Believe Recovery White Logo

Just Believe Recovery is a fully licensed, Joint Commission accredited, comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment center located in Jensen Beach, Florida.

Let's Connect

🔒 Your information is safe & secure
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Is Alcoholism Genetic or Hereditary? | Just Believe Recovery

Is Alcoholism Genetic or Hereditary?

Addiction is a chronic, often life-long illness that affects the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, and scientists have long debated over possible genetic and hereditary

Read More »

We Believe Recovery Is Possible For Everyone.

Our dedicated admissions team is standing by to answer any questions you might have.

You don’t have to do this alone. Call today!