Skip navigation
C. Nature and Nurture in the Treatment of Alcoholism

Narrator: This is Science Today. Does nature or nurture do a better job of explaining addictions like alcoholism? Ivan Diamond, a professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, says our brain and our body work by interacting with the world, so the nature-nurture debate is misplaced.

Diamond: Too often there's been a separation in the judgment of people between nature and nurture, that is, oh, this is a willful problem or this is happening because you've got a family riddled with alcoholism and brothers and uncles and fathers and that you have a genetic risk.

Narrator: Diamond says programs like Alcoholics Anonymous are the most effective way of treating alcoholism right now, but he wants to improve the scientific response to the disease.

Diamond: There are many ways of thinking about addictive behaviors and my particular point of view is that I'm a physician. I think of this as a medical disorder, I think of this as a way to try to treat the disorder and come up with ways that might help.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.