New definition of addiction outlined by ASAM
16 August 2011 00:00 in Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs
A new definition of addiction has been released by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) that categorises the condition as a chronic brain disorder.
The new definition is the result of an intensive four-year period of analysis involving addiction authorities, clinicians and neuroscientists, forming a departure from the previous stance that it is simply a behavioural issue.
Under the new categorisation, addiction is being recognised as a primary disease that is not the result of causes such as emotional or psychiatric problems, meaning it must be treated and monitored over a lifetime.
By defining the condition as a neurological disorder rather than a choice, it is thought that patients can avoid stigmatisation and gain improved access to the help they need.
Dr Michael Miller, past president of the ASAM, said: "Many behaviours driven by addiction are real problems and sometimes criminal acts. But the disease is about brains, not drugs. It's about underlying neurology, not outward actions."
According to the UK's Action on Addiction, around one in three people suffer from some form of addiction, which can have both physical and psychological impacts.
Other news stories from 16/08/2011
Read more in the Zenopa News Archive
How this news is generated
Story collated for Zenopa by the Adfero News Agency