Addiction is defined as a brain disease characterized by an inability to regulate the consumption of substances, even when consequences are explicitly dire. Individuals display an intense focus on a given substance(s) that takes over their life.
The term, "Addiction" should be used with clarity and respect. Society tosses the term around carelessly, often applying it where it does not belong.
The DSM 5 indicates the following for a formal diagnosis:
- The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
- There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful effort to cut down or control use of the substance.
- A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects.
- Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use the substance, occurs.
- Recurrent use of the substance results in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
- Use of the substance continues despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of its use.
- Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of use of the substance.
- Use of the substance is recurrent in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
- Use of the substance is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.
- Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:
- A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect
- A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.
- Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following:
- The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for that substance (as specified in the DSM-5 for each substance).
- The use of a substance (or a closely related substance) to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms