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Deirdre Boyd

October 30, 2011

THE LATEST DEFINITION OF ADDICTION

ASAM logo 2The American Society of Addiction Medicine has released a new definition of addiction, highlighting that it is a chronic brain disorder and not simply a behavioural problem involving too much alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex.

Four years of work with 80 experts opened the door to ASAM’s first official position that outward behaviours are manifestations of an underlying disease.

 

Print-friendly version, from Addiction Today journal:
Download ASAM definition of addiction 2011

Short Definition of Addiction.
Fotolia_16571399_ag visuellAddiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviours.
Addiction is characterised by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioural control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviours and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

Comments

Kendall

It is high time that there is a definite discourse on the often complex nature of addiction. Hopefully the myths and misconceptions about it will also now be dispelled.

Lindsey Ramirez

This is helpful, but I'm wondering if self-harm falls under the definition of addiction as well?

Gavin Frowen

I would look at self harm as relief and therefore an addiction.

Monica

What about food addictions/eating disorders... This too is a serious addiction! And I am stunned it hasn't been mentioned in the list.

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