Scientists have now redefined addiction as a case of brain disorder, so beware!
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has redefined addiction as a brain disease and has for the first time taken an official stand which interprets 'addiction' as a syndrome that goes beyond behavioural problems and not just limited to substance abuse or, those related to either gambling or sex. ASAM is the nation's largest professional society of physicians dedicated to treating and preventing addiction.
The new definition, according to ASAM can work as a tool to access chronic brain disorder when linked to cravings for drug, alcohol, gambling and compulsive eating. Akin to chronic illness such as heart disease or diabetes, treatment for "addiction" could be a long-term challenge.
Addiction is also recognized as a chronic disease, like cardiovascular disease or diabetes, so it must be treated, managed and monitored over a life-time.
Dr. Michael Miller, past president of ASAM who oversaw the development of the new definition, said: "At its core, addiction isn't just a social problem or a moral problem or a criminal problem. It's a brain problem whose behaviours manifest in all these other areas. "He said: "Many behaviours driven by addiction are real problems and sometimes criminal acts. It's about underlying neurology, not outward actions."
Speaking on the longstanding controversy over whether people with addiction have choice over anti-social and dangerous behaviours, Dr. Raju Hajela, past president of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine and chair of the ASAM committee, stated: "The disease creates distortions in thinking, feelings and perceptions, which drive people to behave in ways that are not understandable to others around them. Simply put, addiction is not a choice. Addictive behaviours are a manifestation of the disease, not a cause."
Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse welcomed this new definition and explained its advantages for understanding the brain's chemical responses while monitoring a patient's addictive syndrome. Addiction is “not simply a behavioral problem involving too much alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex,” the American Society of Addiction Medicine declared this week. Instead, the society notes, “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of
“The disease is about brains, not drugs. The association’s new definition of addiction
Neuroscientists have been saying for years that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain. To craft their statement, the American Society of Addiction Medicine received input from 80 experts and consulted with the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Addiction is a disease, according to American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and reported by the Los Angeles Times. The group adopted a statement that said, “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.”
Addiction can include alcoholism, drug abuse, gambling or compulsive eating.
The Toronto Sun reported that Miller also said, "At its core, addiction isn't just a social problem or a moral problem or a criminal problem. The Associated Press quoted Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse as saying, "The behavioral problem is a result of brain dysfunction.” The Associated Press also reported that risk factors for addiction include genetics and age.