Calgary Addiction Counselling: Treating Addiction Beyond Substances

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I wish there was an easy, unified answer on this but, unfortunately, there is not as there are still a lot of different opinions and perspectives when it comes to defining Addiction (if they are even willing to do so and not just focus on substances).

Iwish there was an easy, unified answer on this but, unfortunately, there is not as there are still a lot of different opinions and perspectives when it comes to defining Addiction (if they are even willing to do so and not just focus on substances). 

For instance, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) focuses on Substance Use Disorders in its diagnostic criteria rather than Addiction. People entrenched in this system are still debating whether problem gambling and sex addiction are real things which, for those of us working with people, is absurd because these are challenges we see almost everyday whether in isolation or conjunction with problem substance use. 

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines Addiction as “a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences.” This definition certainly allows for inclusion of other behaviours beyond drugs and alcohol which, as a professional providing addiction counselling since 2008 is definitely more representative of the reality out there. 

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