What is Addiction?

As defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), 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…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.”

Addiction is a Disease

Despite the stigma our society places upon those with an addiction, it is a primary disease, in the same category as heart disease, cancer, Lupus, and type I diabetes, among others. Addiction IS NOT A MORAL FAILING. The initial decision to use a drug or substance may be voluntary, but once the human body and brain begin to crave a chosen substance, the disease takes over.