Friday, January 27, 2012


I am attending a major 'think tank' session today in Texas. The discussion revoles around whether to subscribe to the new definiton of addiction, set out by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. For Physicians and Pharmacists this is an easy sell. They call it a 'brain disease'. It is chronic and can be treated by medication. But the question still lingers as to why it occurs in the first place. If it is a disease than it just appears - we have no participation in it. If it is a disorder then maybe there is the implication that we have a part in the process. No one sits on our chests, puts a funnel in our mouths and pours alcohol down our throats. Likewise no one forces us to ingest or IV opiates. This 'disease' only shows up after we have participated in an action to make it happen. I would like to suggest that we have a disorder or even an illness, and we need help and support to get well. Wellness is our goal. Whether we use pharmacotherapy, or AA, or Mental Health/Substance Abuse Counseling, the goal is the same and we must be involved in the process somehow. Although ASAM decided to redefine addiction in a way that benefits physician practices and pharmaceutical companies, we must consider that stepping up on our own is a critical part of personal wellness.