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The Meaning of Addiction book cover

The Meaning of Addiction

Compulsive Experience and Its Interpretation

Stanton Peele

The Meaning of Addiction: An Unconventional View (1998 edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1998 (originally published, MA: Heath, 1985) ISBN 0-7879-4382-7 [pbk.]

To Isidor Chein and David McClelland—
two who showed the way

Views on The Meaning of Addiction



Preface to 1998 Edition


The Concept of Addiction
Opiate Addiction in the United States and the Western World
Divergent Evidence about Narcotic Addiction
Nonbiological Factors in Addiction
The Nature of Addiction


The American Image of Alcohol: Does Liquor Have the Power to Corrupt and Control?
The Disease of Alcoholism
Historical, Social, Ethnic, and Economic Factors in Alcoholism in the United States
The Social Science Challenge to the Disease Theory
Controlled-Drinking Therapy for Alcoholism


Theories of Addiction
Stanton Peele and Bruce K. Alexander
Genetic Theories
Exposure Theories: Biological Models
Exposure Theories: Conditioning Models
Adaptation Theories
The Requirements of a Successful Theory of Addiction


Adult, Infant, and Animal Addiction
Bruce K. Alexander, Stanton Peele, Patricia E. Hadaway,
Stanley J. Morse, Archie Brodsky, and Barry L. Beyerstein

The Effect on the Infant of Mother's Drug Use
The Addicted Animal
Animal Narcotics Use in Rat Park
What Causes Animals to Accept Narcosis?
The Implications of Infant and Animal Research for Conceptions of Addiction


Addiction to an Experience
Elements of the Addictive Experience
Susceptibility to Addiction and the Choice of Addictive Object: Social and Cultural Factors
Susceptibility to and Choice of Addiction: Situational Factors
Susceptibility to and Choice of Addiction: Individual Factors
Susceptibility to and Choice of Addiction: Developmental Factors
The Nature of Addiction: The Addiction Cycle


The Impaired Society
The Narcotic Connection—Supply and Demand
The Negative Effects of the Belief in Chemical Dependence
Can We Treat Away the Drug Problem?
The Alcoholism and Chemical Dependence Industry
Spreading Diseases
The Cure for Addiction