Okay Addiction Is A Defined As A Disease But What Does This Mean Exactly
We have established that addiction is defined as a disease. But, in order for you to truly understand that addiction is a disease, you should probably have a clear understanding of how the word disease is defined. Of course, you probably already have an intuitive idea of what a disease is. It is sickness, right? You get that. It is illness. It is a departure from health. It is the opposite of wellness. Yet, while you may equate all of these simplistic definitions to that of disease, you may still have a difficult time understanding that addiction is a disease. For reasons that we will later explain, the disease of addiction operates in such a way that you may naturally reject the idea that it is a disease. So! To drive the point home, Websters Dictionary, which offers the most wide-spread and commonly accepted definition, says that a disease is a condition that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms. Lets see if addiction meets the criteria to be classified as a disease based on this definition.
Simple, right? A disease is defined as a condition that meets certain criteria. Addiction meets this criteria. Therefore, addiction is a disease. Ta da!
The Clinical Perspective Addiction As A Language Of Communication About Substance Use Problems
In the clinical context, addiction is a concept that helps professionals and patients acknowledge that substance use is a source of problems. When professionals receive training in addiction, they increase their awareness that use of substances may cause patients problems. When patients learn about addiction, they may become aware of the fact that substance use may harm them. This, more than anything, is the significance of the addiction concept in the clinical context.
When professionals, such as doctors, successfully screen patients for substance use problems, the result is not so often a comprehensive treatment plan, as simply awareness raising on the side of the patient. For instance, the patient may complain of stomach problems, the doctor may diagnose an irritable bowel syndrome, worsened by a vicious circle of alcohol drinking and stress. After uncovering this vicious circle together with his physician, the patient may begin to consider cutting down on his drinking.
Previous Definitions Of Addiction
Before the latest definition of addiction was adopted in 2019, the most recent definition from the ASAM was from 2011. The short definition was: 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. It is clear that the 8-year gap in these definitions left room for experts to more thoroughly recognize the impact that environment and a persons life experiences has on addiction. This is an even larger leap from historical beliefs that addiction was caused by a personality disorder, lack of willpower, or moral weakness.
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Online Counseling With Betterhelp
Whether you or a loved one is struggling with dependence or addiction, help is available. You can speak with a counselor at BetterHelp to discuss the events that got you to where you are and begin developing a plan to feel better. Combatting dependence or addiction is something you dont have to tackle alone.
Admitting you are experiencing a problem such as addiction is often the first step to receiving help. Coming to terms with your dependence or addiction may feel shameful or embarrassing, and you might be hesitant to discuss it with those youre close to. Online therapy allows you to move at your own pace and open up to someone without feeling judged. You can choose to keep your identity anonymous and confide in a licensed therapist whose main concern is to help you get better.
Differentiating Addiction From Compulsion
Some people view non-drug use addictive behaviors, such as pathological gambling or shopping, as being compulsions , that involve spontaneous desires to act a particular way, a subjective sense of feeling temporarily out of control, psychological conflict pertaining to the imprudent behavior, settling for less to achieve the same ends, and a disregard for negative consequences. Others use the term compulsion more narrowly. Some may define this term as a simple but intense urge to do something only one aspect of addictions but centrally definitive of obsessive-compulsive disorders . It may be defined even more precisely as an intense egodystonic urge to engage in a simple, repetitive activity, to remove anxiety . Such activities may include repeated washing of hands, tying of shoes, or bathing, or restricting areas in which one will travel . A narrow definition of compulsion does not, primarily, consider the interplay of higher-order cognitive processes, such as the planning that may go into completion of a cycle of addictive behavior. . Also, the act may accomplish a temporary removal of anxiety, but it tends not to be experienced as pleasurable at any point in the engagement of the behavior . Conversely, an addiction, by definition, involves the attempt to achieve some appetitive effect and satiation through engagement in some behavior. In fact, a whole constellation of purposeful behavior may be involved in attempts to achieve satiation .
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The Science Behind Addiction
The brain functions with the aid of neurotransmitters, which act as messengers, travelling from one part of the brain to the next, in order to fulfil a purpose. Its something like a game of pass the baton. A neurotransmitter travels through a neuron, binds to a receptor on the next neuron, signalling the neurotransmitter of the next neuron to do the same.
Dopamine is the neurotransmitter associated with the internal reward system and is one of the biological factors responsible for addiction. When a person engages in a rewarding behaviour or consumes a drug, their brain gets far more dopamine than normal. risking dependency and addiction.
Although dopamine is the main neurotransmitter associated with the brains reward system, other ones, such as serotonin, endorphins, GABA, and norepinephrine can be affected by addiction.
In the case of drugs, a substance can mimic a neurotransmitter, trigger the production of more neurotransmitters, or block the reuptake of a neurotransmitter. Cocaine, for example, hijacks dopamine pathways by blocking dopamine reuptake.
No matter what happens on the cellular level, the brain essentially becomes flooded with dopamine.
Although there are no extra substances involved, behavioural addictions affect the reward system in a similar manner.
With repeated stimulation, dependence and addiction become more and more likely.
Do You Have An Addiction
The definition of addiction is a chronic brain disease that manifests itself as a dependency on a substance or behaviour.
This mental illness is characterised by engaging in compulsive behaviour, despite negative consequences, combined with preoccupation and cravings. However, it is important to try to understand what addiction is, because, without treatment, it can be highly detrimental to the mental and physical wellbeing of the person affected and those around them.
An addictive substance has the characteristics of being rewarding and reinforcing. Addiction itself combines both dependence and abuse. Substance abuse by itself does not necessarily mean addiction.
Dependence refers to being psychologically and/or physically dependent on a substance/behaviour and exhibiting withdrawal symptoms if the substance/behaviour is taken away. In the case of drug addiction, abuse can refer to misusing a substance, taking much more of it than recommended, or repeatedly engaging in the activity despite notable harm.
Addiction can be to a substance, such as alcohol or drugs, or a process/behaviour, such as gambling or sex.
All types of addictions affect a persons brain function and behaviour, taking control of their day-to-day life. Although addiction is a chronic mental illness, it is possible to recover from it.
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Why Do Some People Become Addicted To Drugs While Others Don’t
No one factor can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of factors influences risk for addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction. For example:
- Biology. The genes that people are born with account for about half of a person’s risk for addiction. Gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders may also influence risk for drug use and addiction.
- Environment. A persons environment includes many different influences, from family and friends to economic status and general quality of life. Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early exposure to drugs, stress, and parental guidance can greatly affect a persons likelihood of drug use and addiction.
- Development. Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a persons life to affect addiction risk. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it will progress to addiction. This is particularly problematic for teens. Because areas in their brains that control decision-making, judgment, and self-control are still developing, teens may be especially prone to risky behaviors, including trying drugs.
Can Drug Addiction Be Cured Or Prevented
As with most other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, treatment for drug addiction generally isnt a cure. However, addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed. People who are recovering from an addiction will be at risk for relapse for years and possibly for their whole lives. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success for most patients. Treatment approaches tailored to each patients drug use patterns and any co-occurring medical, mental, and social problems can lead to continued recovery.
More good news is that drug use and addiction are preventable. Results from NIDA-funded research have shown that prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media are effective for preventing or reducing drug use and addiction. Although personal events and cultural factors affect drug use trends, when young people view drug use as harmful, they tend to decrease their drug taking. Therefore, education and outreach are key in helping people understand the possible risks of drug use. Teachers, parents, and health care providers have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction.
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Historical Views On Addiction
The use of psychoactive substances has been around for nearly as long as recorded history, with evidence of Greeks using opium both medically and spiritually in 10,000 BCE. Around 5,000 BCE, there were reports of alcohol being used to levels of intoxication in Egypt. Cannabis, opium, and alcohol are substances commonly seen throughout history, with almost 2,000 references to wine and vineyards in the Bible alone, and evidence of marijuana use dating back tens of thousands of years in Europe and Taiwan. The attitudes and perceptions towards substances have changed over the years, with religious, cultural, and industrial influences impacting those opinions.
Religious influences have been and still are a weighing factor for those who practice religion. In the Bible, drinking alcohol was acceptable in moderation but was seen as sinful to drink to excess. The temperance movement of the late 19th century solidified the belief that alcohol use was immoral and was demonstrated by the prohibition movement. Today, alcohol use is generally accepted in American culture and is even sometimes promoted and advertised as glamorous, but some religions like Islam and Buddhism reject alcohol, and others like certain branches of Christianity view any excess alcohol use as immoral.
Causes And Mechanisms Of The Addictions
Addictions arise when substance use becomes disordered, when substances are used more and more in situations where they do harm, and when the user loses control over the use. But how and why does substance use become disordered? Is there individual variability in our vulnerability to develop addictions?
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What Happens To The Brain When A Person Takes Drugs
Most drugs affect the brain’s “reward circuit,” causing euphoria as well as flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. A properly functioning reward system motivates a person to repeat behaviors needed to thrive, such as eating and spending time with loved ones. Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy behaviors like taking drugs, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again.
As a person continues to use drugs, the brain adapts by reducing the ability of cells in the reward circuit to respond to it. This reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drugan effect known as tolerance. They might take more of the drug to try and achieve the same high. These brain adaptations often lead to the person becoming less and less able to derive pleasure from other things they once enjoyed, like food, sex, or social activities.
Long-term use also causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well, affecting functions that include:
Despite being aware of these harmful outcomes, many people who use drugs continue to take them, which is the nature of addiction.
Addiction In Specific Groups
Some people may be more prone to addiction or have a harder time overcoming addiction. Specific groups such as women, young people, physically disabled, elderly, or those in the military , have additional factors in their lives that can increase their chances of becoming addicted.
Women, for example, tend to have more psychological and physical damage from alcohol and/or drug use. For example, their organs are more sensitive to the detrimental effects from too much alcohol, hence liver and brain damage develops faster in women than men. Emotional consequences such as depression, trauma, stigma and abuse, are common amongst women with addictions. They are also more susceptible to relapse.
Young people are also at a higher risk for a number of factors. One is that their brains, especially the prefrontal cortex that controls impulses and decision-making, is not fully developed. So they may end up taking more risks than a full-grown adult. Young people are also more likely to use social media, which not only exposes them to peer influence but is also a widely used tool for drug dealers in the modern age.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Sex Addiction
Since sex addiction isnt outlined in the DSM-5, theres considerable controversy about what criteria constitute an addiction.
One characteristic may be secrecy of behaviors, in which the person with the disorder becomes skilled at hiding their behavior and can even keep the condition secret from spouses, partners, and family members. They may lie about their activities or engage in them at times and places where they wont be found out.
But sometimes symptoms are present and noticeable. A person may have a sex addiction if they show some or all of the following signs:
- chronic, obsessive sexual thoughts and fantasies
- compulsive relations with multiple partners, including strangers
- lying to cover behaviors
- preoccupation with having sex, even when it interferes with daily life, productivity, work performance, and so on
- inability to stop or control the behaviors
- putting oneself or others in danger due to sexual behavior
- feeling remorse or guilt after sex
- experiencing other negative personal or professional consequences
Compulsive behaviors can strain relationships, for example, with the stress of infidelity although some people may claim to have a sex addiction as a way to explain infidelity in a relationship.
Since the diagnosis is controversial, evidence-based treatment options are lacking.
Those who describe treating sex addiction may recommend one or more of the following methods.
Definition Of A Drug Addict
Definition of a Drug Addict
For many of us, describing drug addiction may seem hard. Most of us think of addiction as a habit or a failure to prevent ourselves from using something. However, drug addiction is not just limited to failure prevention. Years of study have revealed that drug addiction is more than just a habit. Instead, it is a mental illness.
Individuals suffering from any drug addiction frequently believe they cannot operate regularly without their substance of choice. This can result in a variety of challenges affecting career aspirations, relationships, and general health. These dangerous effects might worsen over time and, if left ignored, can be deadly.
While drug misuse may begin as a pastime activity and appear to be harmless to the user at first, the risk resides in developing a dependency on the drug. This dependency then leads to long-term misuse, which later develops into addiction. But what is it that keeps a person hooked to a cure? This article will review drug addiction and what motivates someone to continue abusing drugs even if they are aware of their addiction and wish to stop.
What is Drug Addiction?
Addiction to drugs is a profound and ongoing brain disorder. People who are addicted to drugs have obsessive, often uncontrolled cravings for their substance of choice. They will usually continue to pursue and use drugs despite facing severely harmful effects because of doing so.
Drug Addiction Signs
always Keeping enough amount of a drug on you
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The Efficacy Of Online Counseling
Online therapy may be a viable option for those seeking treatment for dependence or addiction. One study found that online counseling for addiction was just as effective as in-person individual counseling for the same issue. Researchers found that those in treatment also enjoyed increased access to care and greater convenience by using online therapy.
So What Is The Definition Of Addiction
The definition of addiction is: Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individuals life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences. American Society of Addiction Medicine
In laymans terms the definition of addiction looks at addiction as one of the few chronic diseases that affect ones brain system. In drug addiction treatment it is often said that drug addiction is the only disease that a person has that tells them they do not have a disease.
It is the inability to stop alcohol abuse and drug use or the compulsive drug seeking despite the consequences. Alcohol and drug addictive behaviors involve harmful consequences. Gambling, over or under eating, sex, and a variety of other drugs can have a person develop addiction.
Its about craving for a substance or behavior where there is a lack of concern over consequences so long as the brain satisfies the compulsive or obsessive pursuit of the reward.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse addiction is such a common and severe chronic condition that in 2019, in the United States alone, nearly 50,000 deaths were caused due to substance misuse and drug misuse.
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