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Report: Under DSM 5 criteria--most Americans are "addicts"

May 16, 2012
by Dennis Grantham
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Perhaps the most common behavior among addicted individuals--other than the addiction itself--is their tendency to deny that there's any problem at all, let alone a damaging addiction problem. For all those deniers, and for a good many who will now meet

Perhaps the most common behavior among addicted individuals--other than their addiction itself--is their tendency to deny that there's any problem at all.

For all those deniers, this CNN report explains why they--and an estimated 20 million more Americans--could be classified as "addicts" under new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) criteria. 

While this report repeats the words of critics who maintain that the new DSM-5 addiction definition is overly broad, perhaps there is a silver lining:  the report says that some 60 percent of Americans will meet the DSM-5 description of "addiction" based on the fact that they binged on or abused alcohol or drugs at least once--a factor that would meet the DSM-5 criteria for "mild" addiction.  The new addiction diagnosis has three levels: mild, moderate, or severe. 

Perhaps this broad definition will help more to recognize that, there but for good luck and genetics, they might well have moved from a "mild" form of addiction to a more severe one. And perhaps, knowledge that they once met addiction criteria will lead them to be more understanding, less stigmatizing, of others.

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Dennis Grantham

Dennis Grantham

@BH_dgrantham

www.behavioral.net