After a four-year evaluation process with over 80 experts involved, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has released a new definition of addiction. Instead of a behavioral issue, addiction is now considered to be a brain disorder.
For decades, many believed that addiction was a moral, social and behavioral issue. The experts involved in the ASAM study have revealed that, actually, addiction is a chronic brain disorder. This finding means that behaviors like drug use, alcohol use or gambling are symptoms of a brain disorder.
Additionally, the study by ASAM concluded that addiction does not stem from other causes like emotional issues. Not only is it a primary disease, addiction is also chronic, meaning that the individual must manage it for a lifetime.
People with addiction are also oftentimes misunderstood. Because people who suffer from addiction perceive the world in a distorted way, others likely won’t understand addictive behaviors. This disconnect gets in the way of helping people with addiction receive the treatment they need. These findings by ASAM are a major revelation that will create profound changes of the public perception and treatment of addiction.
Due to this new definition, the way crimes involving addiction are currently handled could change immensely. Sentences for addicts will likely continue to alter as the classification of addiction moves from behavioral issue to brain disorder.
Read more about these findings in this article.