The American Society Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as a primary chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuits. The American Society for Addiction Medicine describes addiction as a primary chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuits. Classification as a primary disease means that the addiction is not the result of any other health situation, problem, or problem. For example, addiction is not caused by a bad marriage, financial hardship, a difficult childhood, or other co-occurring mental health disorders.
The true meaning of this endless list of pseudo-addictions is that society IS addicted to the very concept of addiction. In the past, addiction meant only a few things. But our tolerance grew and society needed more and more addictions to feed our cravings. If we try to stop, we retreat, unable to find a way to distract ourselves from responsibility, unable to avoid the consequences of our decisions.
Every time a new technology emerges, we use it to the point of self-destructing and then label it as addictive to try to regain some control over our use of technology. We use the concept of addiction more and more, despite our growing knowledge that it is destroying our culture, our legal system, our ability to hold ourselves accountable. Our brains change, they are affected by the neurochemical surges we have, seeing people on television, their lives destroyed by their addictions. We receive that emotion from the voyeuristic vision of the suffering of others, from the joy and jealousy of seeing the powerful fall, and from the relief that it is not us who are up there, watching our lives and our successes fall apart.
Researchers have made great strides in this field, which can be seen by analyzing past definitions of addiction, past treatment methods, and public opinion. With input from internal and external stakeholders, the Working Group revised the definition of addiction for use in ASAM policy statements. Addiction is defined as a chronic, recurrent disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. The American Society for Addiction Medicine defines addiction as “a treatable chronic medical illness that involves complex interactions between an individual's brain circuits, genetics, environment and life experiences.