Is Addiction a Medical Diagnosis in the DSM-5

September 30, 2020 , Agape Treatment Center

Is Addiction a Medical Diagnosis in the DSM-5

Classifying Addiction as a Disease

When it comes to addiction, there are many existing and long-standing stigmas that – sadly – prevent many men and women from seeking the professional help they so desperately need. Many mistakenly believe that substance abuse and dependency are linked to will-power or morality. They believe that addiction is a matter of choice – that if someone wanted to stop drinking or using, they simply would. Of course, those who have either suffered from addiction themselves or have watched a loved one suffer from addiction understand that the disease is much, much more than a matter of weak moral standing or motivation. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease. Without professional intervention symptoms will progressively get worse – they will never improve on their own. If you have been struggling with substance abuse or dependency disorder of any type or severity, seeking treatment from an inpatient facility like Agape Treatment Center is truly the only way to maintain long-term sobriety.

Is Addiction a Medical Diagnosis?

For someone to be considered an addict or an alcoholic, he or she must be medically diagnosed. However, indeed, addiction is often self-diagnosable because the associated symptoms become so apparent in such a short amount of time. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) lists several criteria that must be present for addiction to be properly diagnosed by a medical professional. For addiction to be diagnosed, at least two of these criteria must be present within six months.

Criteria for Substance Abuse and Addiction

  • Continued use despite steadily accumulating personal consequences.
  • Attempts to cut back or quit but an inability to do so for any significant period.
  • Problems at work or at school that is directly related to substance use.
  • Problems in interpersonal relationships/pushing away family and friends after the show concern.
  • Legal or financial issues are directly linked to substance abuse.
  • An increase in risk-taking behaviors, like driving under the influence or engaging in illegal activities to obtain more of the chemical substances.
  • Consistently using more than intended and for a longer period.
  • Spending a great deal of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of use.
  • Experiencing intense psychological cravings for the chemical substance.
  • Giving up activities that were previously enjoyed instead of using chemical substances.
  • The building of physical tolerance, meaning a greater amount of the substance is required for the same effects to be produced.
  • Withdrawal symptoms upon abruptly ceased the use of the chemical substance.

Agape Treatment Center – Begin Your Journey of Healing

If you have been suffering at the hands of a substance abuse disorder of any severity, Agape Treatment Center is available to help. Our program of clinical care was carefully developed with the disease model of addiction in mind. Our clinical team thoroughly understands how underlying, contributing factors lead to substance abuse, and how substance abuse eventually develops into addiction when left untreated. Our clinical team works to educate clients on the disease of addiction while simultaneously educating their family members and loved ones.

It is not uncommon for the loved ones of an addict or alcoholic to internalize the addiction and ultimately blame themselves. They might think to themselves, “If I would have treated them differently this never would have happened.” Or, “This is all my fault; I should have taught them better coping skills, or been more emotionally available.” This is not the case – addiction is a cunning, baffling, and powerful disease that can affect anyone at any point in time. If someone you love has been struggling with addiction, we are available to help. Simply give us a call to learn more about the disease model of addiction or to get your loved one started on his or her journey of addiction recovery. We look forward to speaking with you soon and helping in any way we can.