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Page last updated at 07:51 GMT, Thursday, 31 May 2012 08:51 UK

Is addiction a disease?

Is the idea of treating addiction as a disease preventing addicts from overcoming their problems?

Daily Telegraph writer and recovering alcoholic Damian Thompson, who has written a new book on the subject, explains that what worries him is the way addicted behaviour is "spreading around society".

"There is an acceleration of addictiveness", he told the Today programme. Impulsivity, he said, "is becoming the default style of the cognitive elite".

Colin Blakemore, professor of neuroscience at Oxford University, said there is a "biological basis" for addiction, although there are problems with providing a definition.

"Look at the word - dis-ease - not at ease with one's life... that characterises the problems of alcohol," he said.

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