Friday, February 26, 2021

What is Addiction?

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Addiction is a complicated, chronic brain condition influenced by genes and the environment that is characterized by compulsive actions or substance use that continue despite harmful consequences in a person’s life.

Addiction used to mean an uncontrollable habit of using drugs or alcohol. In recent years, the concept of addiction has expanded to include behaviors, such as gambling, as well as substances, and even ordinary activities, such as exercise and eating.

Addictions vs. Substance Use Disorders

Online drug abuse courses teach that the term addiction is used to describe compulsive drug-seeking behaviors that continue in spite of negative results. It is important to note that addiction is not considered an official diagnosis in the DSM-5.

The DSM-5 classifies substance use disorders. While the diagnostic criteria vary for each type of disorder, the DSM-5 describes these as problematic patterns of use of intoxicating substances leading to significant impairment and distress. These symptoms can result in impaired control, risky use, social impairment, and tolerance/withdrawal. 

Online drug abuse courses also teach that these conditions are informally referred to as addictions; a doctor can officially diagnose a patient with substance use disorder or one of the two behavioral addiction disorders recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Substance use disorders found in the DSM-5:3 are:

  • Alcohol-Related Disorders
  • Caffeine-Related Disorders
  • Cannabis-Related Disorders
  • Hallucinogen-Related Disorders
  • Opioid-Related Disorders
  • Sedative-Hypnotic or Anxiolytic-Related Disorders
  • Stimulant-Related Disorders
  • Tobacco-Related Disorders
  • The DSM-5 also recognizes two types of behavioral addictions:
  • Gambling Addiction
  • Internet Gaming Disorder

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