Can We Change the Definition of Addiction and the Way It’s Perceived? (by Guest Blogger Joshua Cozad)

Read more about the author here. This post is based on the community work and writing that the author has been doing in WR 122 at Portland Community College.  The piece of public writing is loosely based on a research question and research collection the author developed.  The public writing is a chance to use one’s writing to become part of the larger community dialogue about issues in the chosen theme.

The Public Writing

Dear Representative Paul Tonko,

As an advocate for the treatment and funding of addiction I am very pleased to be writing you about the current state of addiction and how it’s being treated.  Currently in the United States, as I’m sure you are quite aware, the addiction rate in our country is alarming.  However, what’s more alarming is the way addiction is viewed and the opportunities for treatment that those who are suffering can obtain.

Currently in our country there is a fight to re-define the term “Addiction” and what it means to be an addict.  How can this be changed? For starters the continuation of the work you’ve started, along with the help of communities around us to further understand what the disease itself derives from.  The current stigma around addiction is that it’s something to “get over” and it’s not being accepted fully as a real disease of the body and mind.

In 2011 the American Society of Addiction Medicine expanded the definition of addiction to include other addictions such as sex and gambling.  This definition reform was a step in the right direction, one much in the same way as the work you’ve done fighting to keep budgets in place in our country to maintain treatment opportunities.  There is an emanate need for the way addiction is looked at and the way it is treated to be changed.  The hardest part of recovery from my own experiences is not the treatment itself, but the auras and stigmas you battle surrounding the recovery.  Harder than the refusal of relapse is the negativity that is a constant aura protruded by others.

Can we change the true definition of addiction? I believe so, with hard work and awareness the negative stigma that so forcefully surrounds addiction can broken.  Once this barrier is removed and the push towards a reform is set into motion we can hope to achieve a more positive outlook towards addiction and remove the stigma that so harshly surrounds it.  I look forward greatly to seeing the changes you propose and the changes to come in our communities.

Sincerely,

Joshua Cozad

The Research Question & Collection

Research question:  Can we change the definition of addiction and the way it’s perceived?

 

1.     Citation: “ASAM issues new definition of addiction.” Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly 22 Aug. 2011: 5. Academic OneFile. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.

Summary: This article gives insight into the true definition of addiction and how it is currently being understood.  The American Society of Addiction Medicine expanded the definition of addiction to include various other addictions rather than just drugs and alcohol alone.  These addictions range from sex, internet pornography and gambling to other compulsive tendencies that come into play as well.  The purpose of this article and its drive is to encourage the acceptance of addiction as a true disease of the mind and giving its credibility due to true neurological complications that come from the disease.  As the article states in perfect composure, “Many behaviors driven by addiction are real problems and sometimes criminal acts.  But the disease is about brains, not drugs.  It’s about underlying neurology, not outward actions.”

Importance: The importance of the purpose of this article is critical to the nature of addiction itself.  The reformat of the term addiction is of dire importance at this time; at no time in our culture has the aura around something that is a disease been so negative.   This article is a key point into my research, it a step in the right direction into the change that is so desperately needed.  If changes like these can continue to happen then there will undoubtedly be a more prosperous and prominent change in our culture.

2.     Citation: Freed, Christopher R. “Addiction Medicine And Addiction Psychiatry In America: Commonalities In The Medical Treatment Of Addiction.” Contemporary Drug Problems 37.1 (2010): 139-163. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.
Summary: There are currently two branches of treatment for addiction in the United States: addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry.  The current goal that’s being driven is to combine these two branches into one defined condition so the current definition can be further changed and understood.
Importance: The importance of this article is that currently in our country there is a battle to truly define addiction as a disease not only of the body but of the mind.  If the true definition of addiction can be accepted as both of these attributes than the process of treatment can not only be further improved but better understood as well.

 

3.     Citation: Oksanen, Atte. “Deleuze And The Theory Of Addiction.” Journal Of Psychoactive Drugs 45.1 (2013): 57-67. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.
Summary: This article provides a statement that the current observation on addiction in the biomedical, social and psychological fields is extremely controversial.  The article explain that the theory on addiction is so misunderstood and bottlenecked into certain trains of thought that it restricts the true need that needs to be addressed in both the treatment and process towards it.
Importance: The importance of this article to my research is that it provides knowledge on the standpoint of addiction.  Addiction is more than something to be brushed aside or contemplated when treating; it is to be recognized as a true disease of the body and mind with physical and neurological effects.  This article explains the controversial link between all 3 fields of science dealing with addiction and strives to make a point to combine them for a joint function of forward motion.

4.     Citation: Duenwald, Mary. “A Scientist’s Lifetime of Study Into the Mysteries of Addiction.” New York Times 19 Aug. 2003: F5. Academic OneFile. Web. 15 Mar. 2013.
Summary: This article is a question and answer format, it’s given by one of the top research MD currently in the addiction medical field.  It goes in detail with her answers how important it is for our society to find and fight not only the root problem of addiction, but the auras and negativity that surround it.

Importance: This article is a strong persuasion to my research as it provides a Q/A format from one of the top doctors in the addiction medical field.  If the research and drive coming from these doctors and fields of medicine and psychology continue to advance and grow there can only be one outcome, a better stronger, and more suitable treatment for addiction in our culture and society.

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3 comments

  1. Ree Anna

    This letter Just make sure you use specific evidence from your peer’s work, mention both strengths and areas for improvement, and end on a positive note that acknowledges and respects the author and his/her writing work and process. addict. How can this be changed? For starters the continuation of the work you’ve started, along with the help of communities around us to further understand what the disease itself derives from. The current stigma around addiction is that it’s something to “get over” and it’s not being accepted fully as a real disease of the body and mind.

    I didn’t know that they had expanded the definition of addiction to include other addictions such as sex and gambling. I too believe that this reform was a step in the right direction.
    I think that your letter had a lot of very helpful insights into the definition of addiction. I would like to know more about what the treatment options are, and what is wrong with them and correct as well.

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