Empathy and Addiction: A Quest for Connection – the addiction complex

How is the individual to embrace an empathetic approach towards an individualized occurrence of addiction? Just as there are a variety of ways in how one might define empathy, there too is both a complex and chaotic understanding of addiction. Addiction is an emotionally charged experience for the world as a whole, which includes the individual as well. Our understanding of addiction, our emotional biases, our understanding of its existence, etc., provides a variety of interpretations that inevitably are discerned by the individual’s perceptual lens.


Empathy is a term from which the meaning has broadened to a point of uncertainty. For clarity, McWilliams (1994) reminds us of the importance of empathy. When discussing addiction empathy is profound, where the other does not sympathize with, but unites in feeling with the individual. McWilliams stated


by Erik J. Welsh, PhD