Friday, August 19, 2011

ASAM Releases New Definition of Addiction

The American Society of Addiction Medicine has released a new definition of addiction. The full text may be read here. This definition begins with: Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.

In part, the new description states:
Addiction is characterized by2:
  1. Inability to consistently Abstain;
  2. Impairment in Behavioral control;
  3. Craving; or increased “hunger” for drugs or rewarding experiences;
  4. Diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships; and
  5. A dysfunctional Emotional response.

2. These five features are not intended to be used as “diagnostic criteria” for determining if addiction is present or not. Although these characteristic features are widely present in most cases of addiction, regardless of the pharmacology of the substance use seen in addiction or the reward that is pathologically pursued, each feature may not be equally prominent in every case. The diagnosis of addiction requires a comprehensive biological, psychological, social and spiritual assessment by a trained and certified professional.

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