Chapter 15 Superpower rivalry, the American Grand Narrative, and the BDMA


Both the scientific support and the therapeutic utility of the Brain Disease Model of Addiction (BDMA) have been fundamentally challenged by established scientists and scholars. Nonetheless, the BDMA continues to dominate mainstream governmental, professional, and public discourse on addiction within the United States and in much of Europe and Canada.

But why? Unraveling this paradox could lead to a more open and productive discussion of addiction theory and treatment. This chapter argues that the BDMA’s dominance is more based on cultural than scientific or scholarly support. A major cultural base is that the BDMA bolsters American citizens’ commitment to a titanic superpower rivalry that devours public money and energy that might otherwise afford them world-class health care, education, infrastructure, social services, ecological responsibility, and financial security.

The chapter explores some of the ways that American culture props up the BDMA, from childhood education to the suppression of research.


Bruce K. Alexander - ORCiD:


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