Changing Addiction from a Sin Problem

Moira O'Neil, PhD

Addiction, Cultural Models, Brain Architecture, Stress

October 2010

Dr. Moira O’Neil from the FrameWorks Institute presents research from peer discourse sessions conducted in Alberta for the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative. She discusses the image of the addict and his or her loss of self-control as a symbolic figure in North American imaginary. Popular television shows, nightly newscasts, and everyday conversations often document a person’s “fall” into addiction and serve as morality tales about the importance of self regulation and personal responsibility.  Understanding how the issue of addiction is represented in the public discourse — both through how people talk to each other and through media representations — is critical to developing communication strategies, as the public discourse shapes both how people reason about addictions and the range of solutions that are readily seen as appropriate and effective.  Corresponding presentation documents and materials coming soon.