Pubdate: Wed, 25 May 2016
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2016 The Washington Post Company
Author: Kelly J. Clark


Regarding the May 22 front-page article "Struggling to look away from 
the screen":

Since when is mislabeling a condition as an addiction helpful to the 
patient or the public? The American Society of Addiction Medicine 
defines addiction as a chronic brain disease that affects 
neurotransmission within the reward section of the brain. The 
dysfunction in these circuits leads to "an individual pathologically 
pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors." 
Compulsive Web use has not yet been documented as a behavioral 
condition, for example gambling, that is an addiction.

With the national opioid overdose epidemic, the public and 
policymakers now understand that addiction is a chronic medical 
condition that benefits from evidence-based treatment - not a moral 
failing. Let's not undo this important progress on the understanding 
of addiction by mislabeling conditions that are not the serious 
chronic brain disease of addiction.

Kelly J. Clark, Louisville The writer is president-elect of the 
American Society of Addiction Medicine.
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