The face of addiction is changing as the newest draft of the American Psychiatric Association's latest diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) excludes the disease classifications for substance dependence. Now it is called Substance Use and Addictive Disorders. The reason for this is that dubbing the term dependence misrepresents it wholly.
In the DSM-V, which will be released in May 2013, addiction is defined as abuse of any substance or behaviour, including gambling but not including sex. Exactly how addicted an individual becomes depends on how self-absorbed and compelled they are with the substance or behavior.
There is a rising debate over the changes of the new DSM-V. The reason for the debating is that it must be remembered that this manual, like it or not, determines much health insurance coverage to determine what is and what is not going to be covered. However, the medical definition of addiction is forever now changed.
Those who are responsible for the newest changes to the DSM-V worried that anyone that relied on any substance would be categorized as substance dependent and that would be an incorrect assessment. This would then mean that if a person needs antidepressants or even anti-anxiety drugs they would be considered addicts.
The treatment community is not happy with the new changes and worry that the new definition of addiction will taint statistics, cause false epidemics, and cause a massive over spending of funds that is not necessary.
The new DSM-V indicates that it used criteria for determining addiction that added "craving or a strong desire to use," replacing other certain terms with new ones, and adding gambling to the list of addictions. Sex and Internet addictions were not added just yet.
It is expected that there will be a lot more diagnoses and many of these will be when there truly is a lack of need for it. More diagnoses lead to more prescriptions going out, which could fuel the prescription drug epidemic even farther. In addition, consider the low rate of success with treatment for addiction and many are justifiably concerned with how the new DSM-V just add salt to the open wound.
Finally, many also worry that pharmacological interventions will take a turn and that redefining existing terms and techniques can only lower the number of promising treatment options that may have helped. With the new DSM-V a typical college student that binge drinks would be diagnosed as a mild alcoholic. Bottom of Form
It is not expected that changing a few terms will have more people seek help nor is it expected to alter the way that providers offer their services. Many are keeping their fingers crossed that this will bring about earlier and more significant interventions. That is all that can be hoped for at this point.