Excerpt from Page 13 – “What is addiction?”

Published August 9, 2016

HOOKED: A concise guide to the underlying mechanics of addiction and treatment for patients, families, and providers | Arwen Podesta, MD

Excerpt from Page 13 – “What is addiction?”

Many people experiment with drugs, including alcohol, but only
some become addicted. Many people that do not become addicted,
yet have consequences—physical, legal, or other—might not be
considered “addicts.” When I speak of addicts, I am not talking
about people that dabble, experiment, or use substances (even illegal
ones) occasionally. I am talking about those who have the brain
disease of addiction.

The official American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) definition
is “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation,
memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to a
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.”