ADDICTION is characterized by a person’s marked impairment in their ability to control their alcohol or other drug use. This loss of control, as it is often called, expresses itself as a person’s inability to predict when she or he will discontinue their use, once begun. The condition is characterized as one that is chronic, progressive, and relapsing. The American Medical Association16, American Psychiatric Association17, and World Health Organization18, have stated that addiction is a disease. A joint 1990 report from the Committee of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence provided a detailed description of alcoholism as a disease.
ADDICTION is a disease–a treatable disease. It is a disease that not only has physical origins and implications but emotional, spiritual, and behavioral aspects as well.
[Hazelden Foundation 2008]
Public Policy Statement: (Definition of Addiction) 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 behaviors. Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors 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.
[ASAM – American Society of Addictive Medicine, 4/19/11]
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