THE LATEST DEFINITION OF ADDICTION
The American Society of Addiction Medicine has released a new definition of addiction, highlighting that it is a chronic brain disorder and not simply a behavioral 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 behaviors are manifestations of an underlying disease.
Print-friendly version, from Addiction Today journal:
Download ASAM definition of addiction 2011
Short Definition of Addiction.
Addiction 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.