Chapter 43 Recovery and identity: A socially-focussed challenge to brain disease models


This chapter is a socially focused challenge to the brain disease model of addiction.

By exploring the cessation of substance use and pathways to recovery we are able to offer an understanding which is both empirically supported and both accessible to and understood by the wider population. We argue that the brain disease model of addiction is ultimately undermined, or at least limited, by processes of recovery and the methods and mechanisms through which it is achieved.

The focus of the chapter is on the role of peers and communities in recovery and the overwhelming evidence that recovery is a journey over time characterised by growth and active community engagement. The most parsimonious explanation for this process is social and identity-based, and one which supports successful reintegration at a social and community level.


Beth Collinson - ORCiD:

David Best - ORCiD:


Evaluating the Brain Disease Model of Addiction is available from: