Addiction is a compulsive, harmful activity. Conservative values are an excellent way to combat addiction, which includes these highly destructive activities:
- illegal drugs
- prescription drugs
- gambling - 2-4% of adults and 4-6% of teenagers are addicted, and higher percentages lose money from it.
- drinking alcohol habitually - about 10% of people are alcoholics
- prescription drug abuse
Less serious addictions include:
- watching television
- obsession with professional sports or celebrities
Addiction of one form or another is a universal problem. Conservative values are often the most effective way to combat addiction. Religion can also help.
Historically the term addiction was defined in terms of physically measurable symptoms of repeated drug use, such as tolerance (more drugs for the same effect) or withdrawal symptoms (illness caused by stopping use). Habituation referred to drug use that was psychologically habit-forming, but not necessarily physically addicting.
In the past 20 years, doctors have reversed the meaning of these words. Habituation now refers to using a drug that causes physical withdrawal symptoms. Addiction has become a term that refers to compulsive behavior that continues in spite of adverse consequences.
A consequence of these new definitions is that it is impossible to be addicted to a drug like Ritalin or Prozac if it is prescribed. It is not compulsive behavior if used as prescribed, and it is not adverse if a physician says that it is beneficial. It is also impossible to have "crack baby" or a "meth addicted baby". It also means that a marijuana smoker is not necessarily addicted. If he likes what he is doing and he is able to function, then these experts would say that he is not addicted no matter how much marijuana he consumes.
More recently the definition has been expanded to include almost any type of compulsive and potentially self-destructive activity.
The American Psychiatric Association lists two related diagnoses: substance dependence and substance abuse. To meet criteria for a diagnosis of substance dependence, at least three of the following symptoms must occur in the same 1-year period:
- (a) tolerance (larger doses of the substance are needed to produce the same effect)
- (b) withdrawal during periods of non-use
- (c) using the substance more frequently or for longer periods than intended
- (d) long-standing desire or unsuccessful attempts to stop or reduce use
- (e) considerable time spent using the substance, making efforts to acquire the substance, and or recovering from its effects
- (f) important activities are reduced or given up due to substance use
- (g) continued use despite related negative physical or psychological effects.
A substance abuse diagnosis is given when one or more of the following symptoms occurs during a 1-year period:
- (a) substance use leads to failure to fulfill important responsibilities
- (b) substance use in situations where it is dangerous
- (c) chronic legal problems stemming from substance use
- (d) using despite related relationship problems
- American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.