Giving addiction a whole new meaning

AFTER a four-year process of deliberation, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has recently announced that its official definition of ‘addiction’ has been changed. The new definition describes addiction as a “primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry”. 

Importantly, the new definition emphasises the physiological changes that occur in the brain as a result of a chronic disorder, and dispels the myth that addiction is simply a behavioural problem that comes as a result of poor choices.