Are We Addicted to Oil? Lessons from Mental Health

Southwestern Geographer, Vol. 14, pp. 122-136, 2010

15 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2011 Last revised: 20 Feb 2013

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Melinda Benson

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Date Written: December 31, 2010

Abstract

Despite mounting evidence regarding global climate change and its associated impacts, the United States has not transitioned away from oil and other fossil fuels toward more sustainable sources of energy. This article examines a common cultural narrative regarding U.S. energy policy – the notion that we are – addicted to oil. While this phase is often used in discussions regarding energy policy in the United States, the term – addiction is a charged one, and it has potential implications worthy of examination. This article describes the criteria for addiction using the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). It then applies those criteria to our nation’s relationship to oil. Application of Prochaska and DiClemente’s Stages of Change Model (1983) then provides a basis for drawing further parallels regarding the role of addiction in diminishing human potential that may be applied on a cultural scale.

Keywords: climate change, addition, oil consumption, U.S. energy policy

Suggested Citation

Benson, Melinda, Are We Addicted to Oil? Lessons from Mental Health (December 31, 2010). Southwestern Geographer, Vol. 14, pp. 122-136, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1858946

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