What is the best definition of addiction?

Addiction is the inability to stop using a substance or engage in behavior even though it is causing psychological and physical harm. The term Addiction doesn't just refer to dependence on substances such as heroin or cocaine. Addiction is the compulsive need and use of a substance that creates habit. It is accepted as mental illness in the diagnostic nomenclature and gives rise to important health, social and economic problems.

In the diagnostic nomenclature, addiction was originally included in personality disorders along with other behaviors considered deviant. But it is now considered a clinical syndrome. Addiction is determined multifactorially, with substantial genetic influence. The development of addictions is also influenced by environmental factors and by the interaction between the two.

In the clinical context, addiction puts problematic substance use on the agenda and helps to focus on the difficulties associated with drug use. But the concept of addiction is also used to distance the consumer from addicts and, in this way, can be countertherapeutic. The concept of addiction has also had a substantial influence on policies. The near-universal ban on drugs such as opiates, cocaine, cannabis and amphetamine has a lot of support.

But, unfortunately, it has not been able to prevent the development of problems related to substance use. Optimism is fostered by the development of respectful ways of thinking about people with addictions, in particular, by advocates of motivational interviewing. You may end up changing your mind about the disease of addiction, but if you don't, you'll definitely come to a well-informed decision about what addiction is for you. With input from internal and external stakeholders, the Working Group revised the definition of addiction for use in ASAM policy statements.

We understand if you are still having difficulty thinking about the definition of addiction as a disease. The most commonly agreed part of any definition of addiction is that it leads to substantial harm. However, while you can equate all of these simplistic definitions with that of illness, you may still struggle to understand that addiction is a disease.

Kenneth Bursch
Kenneth Bursch

Subtly charming food fan. Certified web trailblazer. Hardcore travel advocate. Freelance web maven. Total bacon aficionado.

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