Addiction is therefore seen as a chronic brain disease that is mostly about the brain’s neurology than its outward manifestations of behavioral problems and poor choices, according to some addiction medicine professionals. In April 2011, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) had also released its new Definition of Addiction, which, for the first time, may also extend addiction to include their behaviors other than the problematic substance abuse. A group of 80 addiction experts has worked for four years to arrive at the new definition of addiction and concluded that addiction is about the underlying neurology of the brain—not about outward behavior.
Addiction As a Disease of the Mind?
The brain’s reward system, on the other hand, can also be altered in such a way that the memory of previous rewards—be it food, sex, or drugs may also be able to trigger a biological and behavioral response to be able to engage in this addictive behavior again, despite their negative consequences, and sometimes even when you may not find pleasure in such activity. Impulse Control, for instance, may also be Altered. Addiction, therefore, may also affect the frontal cortex of the brain in such a way as to alter impulse control and judgment. The frontal cortex is also involved in inhibiting impulsivity and also delaying gratification. So, therefore this area of the brain is most likely to continue to develop into young adulthood. The ASAM experts believe this is why the early-onset exposure to these substances may also be linked to the later development of addiction.
More About Characteristics of Addiction
According to the ASAM definition of addiction, addiction is also characterized by:
- As the Inability to consistently abstain the Impairment in the behavioral control, craving or to increase “hunger” for drugs or the rewarding experiences and the
- Diminished recognition of problems with your behaviors and relationships
- A dysfunctional emotional response
Other Features of Addictive Behavior
The following conditions are also commonly present in addiction:
- The Cravings and addictive behaviors are triggered by external cues
- A risk of relapse even after a long period of abstinence
- the resistance to change despite the increasing problems
- Most importantly, the Impaired Control and Judgment Problems
ASAM also says that behavioral manifestations and complications of addiction due to impaired control can include:
- Engaging in more addictive behavior than you intended
- Increased time lost from work or school
Therefore; substance use, despite physical or psychological consequences, is the Narrowing of your addictive behavior repertoire; for example, you may only have to drink one brand of some certain type of alcohol, the lack of readiness to get help, despite admitting a problem
Addiction Can Cause Cognitive Changes
Cognitive changes in addiction can include:
- Preoccupation with the substance or addictive behavior
- The altered sense of the pros and cons of addictive behaviors
- A false belief that personal problems aren’t predictable consequences of addiction
- Addiction Can Cause Emotional Changes
ASAM also believes in the emotional changes in addiction can include:
- Increase anxiety, dysphoria, and emotional pain
- Situations may seem more stressful than they are, the
- Difficulty identifying and expressing feelings
The Reason For the New Definition of Addiction
In the past, the diagnosis of addiction has also been put in place on the outward manifestations of the person’s behaviors, which may also be observed and confirmed by a standardized questionnaire. Instead, the new definition of addiction may also focus on what may be going on inside you, in your brain. Addiction can also manifest itself in many behaviors beyond substance abuse.
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