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Chapter 8 - Substance Misuse and Addiction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 October 2022

Christopher C. H. Cook
Institute for Medical Humanities, Durham University
Andrew Powell
Formerly Warneford Hospital and University of Oxford
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Any role for spirituality in addressing the serious clinical and public health problems related to substance misuse and addiction might seem antiquated at best, and clinical malpractice at worst. Yet, from a phenomenological perspective, addiction often penetrates and pervades the core of conscious thought and behaviour, undermining personal values and meaning and purpose in life – factors that many people associate with a diminished sense of personal spirituality. Research on spiritual/religious identity and practices has shown that these both protect against the onset of substance misuse and help millions each year to recover from it. This chapter reviews the interplay of morality, spirituality/religion and substance misuse, suggests why addiction in particular is so prone to spiritual pathology, and describes why spirituality/religion have played such prominent roles in successful remission and stable recovery. Spiritually oriented treatment approaches to addiction are reviewed along with their implications for practice and research.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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