What is addiction?

Addiction is a disease formally recognized by the American Medical Association, affecting more than 20 million Americans. While it is a chronic disease, it can be successfully managed through treatment. It is characterized by compulsive seeking of a substance or activity, even to the detriment of other life functions or responsibilities.  At our Florida drug rehab, we recognize that addiction is not limited to individuals. It is a family disease with long-term effects.

Definition:
The American Society of Addictive Medicine offers the following definition of addiction:

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.

What to Look for:
Addiction is characterized by the 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.

Resources:

To learn more about addiction and treatment for yourself or for a loved one, please consider the following resources: