Is addiction a mental illness?

I've just gotten into a discussion about this on Facebook, I was wondering what the gag communities beliefs are.
  • Yes it is
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  • No it isn't
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  • Don't know/ poll
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Most Helpful Girl

  • The DSM-V is the diagnostic manual for mental illness.

    "Addiction” is not considered a specific diagnosis in the fifth edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)—a diagnostic manual used by clinicians that contains descriptions and symptoms of all mental disorders classified by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

    In 2013, APA updated the DSM, replacing the categories of substance abuse and substance dependence with a single category: substance use disorder.

    The symptoms associated with a substance use disorder fall into four major groupings: impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and pharmacological criteria (i. e., tolerance and withdrawal).

    The new DSM describes a problematic pattern of use of an intoxicating substance leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by at least two of the following, occurring within a 12-month period:

    The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.

    There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful effort to cut down or control use of the substance.

    A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects.

    Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use the substance.

    Recurrent use of the substance resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.

    Continued use of the substance despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of its use.

    Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of use of the substance.

    Recurrent use of the substance in situations in which it is physically hazardous.

    Use of the substance is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.

    Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:
    A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect.
    A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.

    Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following:
    The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for that substance (as specified in the DSM- 5 for each substance). The substance (or a closely related substance) is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

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Most Helpful Guy

  • Addiction :-
    Perpetual and compulsive activities seeking pleasure that interferes with ordinary responsibilities and concerns, such as work, relationships, or health. People who have developed an addiction may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.

    Illness :-
    A disease or period of sickness affecting the body or mind.

    In a state of addiction, the person (knowingly or unknowingly) affecting his/her health, especially mental health. So yeah, addiction is a mental illness.

    Note :-
    The word "addiction" should not be confused with "dedication".

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What Girls Said 16

  • Mental illness might cause an addiction, or I think that's why they're related, but not exactly the same. I consider self-harm on a regular basis to be an addiction, because once the person stops, they might still get urges. Self-harm is usually caused by suicidal ideations, depression, or anxiety.

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  • I would have like an option for partially. I think it has to do with a slight mental disability but I don't think it's full blown mental illness. More like a person with a certain flaw in their brain is more susceptible to having an addiction, not that the flaw makes them seek out a substance to be addicted to.

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  • Yes. Mental illness often caused by sub par living conditions. There were studies done on rats where they were given water with opiates in it and water without any drugs, and those rats that lived alone in a cage became addicted to the drugged water and quickly overdosed, while those who were given other rats to interact with and toys and a more entertaining environment and such preferred the drug free water.

    Based on that, it seems that life style plays a big role in determining whether someone becomes addicted to drugs, and that people with happier overall lives are less likely to turn to drugs. Which is why it's entirely ridiculous that our way of "treating" drug addiction is through locking people in cages with shitty living conditions which are likely to make their future even worse, instead of actually treating their conditions in an effective way.

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    • Cool study, do you have a link to that?

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    • Yes a person with an addiction needs help, but it's not a mental illness. It's a side effect of using the drug in the first place. It's a drug and all drugs, be illegal or from a doctor, all alter the body in some way. It's all chemical. If they did nothing, they wouldn't be drugs.

      And drugs have side effects. Some medicine raise and lower your blood pressure. Some medication numbs the pain from an injury. And some of these have some pretty bad side effects. Weakening bones, vision impairment, it ranges from trivial sniffles, even nothing at all, to constipation or the runs. And there's even more serious side effects like addiction.

      Most medication like that even have warnings on them about being addictive. They're not warnings for just some people, they're warnings for everybody.

      For illegal drugs or legal recreational like beer and cigs, most were having a great time, drunk and partying with their fellow rats, when suddenly someone broke out the meth. Mental illness?

    • @LesterJester First off, how is animals doing things that humans can't relevant? Humans don't spin webs, and fyi eucalyptus leaves aren't great for koalas either and the fact that they make up most of a koala's diet is a big reason why koalas are so damn stupid (seriously, they're garbage creatures. Cute, but garbage.)

      In any case, while animals of any sort obviously won't perfectly replicate human behavior, they're still a valuable resource for understanding general psychological principles.

      And yes, clearly other factors play into addiction to. I'm not arguing that. All I'm saying is that addiction isn't wholly the addict's fault, and that punishing people for having shitty living conditions by making those living conditions even shittier is stupid and counter productive.

  • I think it depends on your definition partly.

    Is an addiction something you regularly do and can't live without? In which case we are all addicted to breathing, eating, sleeping, pooing.

    Is an addiction a substance you take? How frequently does it become an addiction? My father takes the upper dose of paracetamol and codeine daily. Is he addicted? No. Is he in extreme pain? Yes.

    Is an addiction only drugs or alcohol? Who classifies which ones make you an addict?

    Many people here are right. Addiction is usually backed by a mental illness or a certain situation which leads to an unhealthy coping mechanism. The addiction itself isn't a mental illness, it's a support structure that turns into routine and fear to be taken.

    Eg. You have a rape victim. They drink through the pain to forget, or they drink every time they feel uncomfortable. It's a crutch to soothe the situation. This would be classed as an addiction but is the issue the alcohol or the rape event?

    Eg. You have an amputee. They take regular, frequent amount of over the counter and prescription drugs. It's helping the pain and aiding life, but it's a crutch to get through daily life. Is this an addiction?

    My point is addictive behaviour doesn't just magically spourn. There is a cause and whether it's unhealthy or healthy is dependent on society and the individual.

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  • Drug and alcohol use can change the brain in a way that causes behavior seen in mental illness. But that doesn't mean that everyone who becomes addicted had mental problems to begin with or that one can just stop by sheer willpower. Certain substances are very physically addictive. They create a chemical dependency within the body.

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  • I don't know enough about it. Psychology is a soft science, therefore, it's hard to prove anything. I think it depends on many variables. Did the person grow up impoverished? Abused? Domestic violence in the family? What kickback is the person getting from using? How can they redirect? Do they have no self control? Self worth? I think all of these are things to consider.

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  • well i suffer from trichotillomania. i've had it since i was 11. it's a compulsive disorder which some people think of as an "addiction" it was even featured on my strange addictions. though i don't believe it is a disorder it really depends on what those addictions are.

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    • i meant i don't think of it was an addiction, it's a disorder but people think of it as an addiction.

  • Ok I se that everybody put yes, though everybody is an addict somehow. There is TV, internet, cellphone, make-up, shopping, sports, tehnology, etc so we are all mentally ill-in fact few people are normal or mental healthy

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    • That's not really the same kind of addiction though. That's addiction in a colloquial sense, not a scientific one.

    • Addiction is abuse of something, excess

  • No, because people have control over their addictions. You don't have control over your mental illnesses. To say they're equal is sugarcoating addictions, especially the illegal and dangerous ones.

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    • Control? Addiction is like taking a box of laxatives and trying not to use the can.

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    • @SJKut223
      Yes and people choose to do those crimes. They are not made to.

    • People want to be happy. All over the world you will find this to be true. They dont want to burn all their bridges, end up in prison, and have to constantly fight suicidal ideation. No one in their right mind is going to take that path. It's because the brain has been hijacked by the limbic system. Bypassing the frontal lobe that's responsible for decision making.

  • I personally don't think so.. but from that poll most people do.. i mean.. to me a mental illness would be something more that you've been diagnosed with schizophrenic etc..

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  • I think mental illnesses often cause addiction so they go hand in hand.

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  • It is mental illness

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  • Short answer, yes.

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  • Addiction is simply a lack of will power.

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    • Sure... just like brain injury, and he'll ptsd too. Any brain dysfunction. Not.

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    • Looks like I touched a nerve with some.

    • Just surprised at the willful ignorance, I think. It isn't like this is an unknown topic, or that plenty of research hasn't been done. Surprised at the chouce to ignore it all.

  • Medical science regards it as more of a physical addiction when there is a true addiction. As to just abusing or over using drugs or alcohol, they generaly think of that as a symptom of larger problems with coping skills, anxiety/depression, even more serious disorders like bipolar and schizophrenia.

    Simply calling is a mental illness or disease is more of a simple shorthand.

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  • I think it is

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What Guys Said 35

  • I consider having an addiction could have a mental illness behind it. Actually there's this thing called "addictive personality disorder" where a person has the tendency for addictions, far beyond the regular population.

    Every "normal" person is in the real risk of acquiring an addiction, as there are many addictive things out there, wether chemical substances (drugs) or behaviors (sex). Yet the addictive personality disorder will make that person highly more susceptible to falling into these risks, and what's worst, all of them tend to go back to their addiction even when having being clean for a long period. Alcoholism is a form of this disease, by the way.

    This illness is treated by intensive therapy, and usually (always?) requires being intern in a specific clinic to treat addictions (no matter of what sort). Even if the person recieves the proper treatment and learns to live his/her life without engaging into addictive behaviors, the chances for a relapse is unfortunately still very high.

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  • Everything is an illness these days. Back when I was growing up, there wasn't add or whatever, you just said that kid ain't right, and carry on.

    But no, in my personal opinion, addiction isn't actually a mental illness in the sense that the person was born with the "illness" or that it's in their genes. Well kinda, but not exactly. It's that most drugs, including alcohol, because that's a drug too let's not forget, are addictive to basically anybody on the planet. You may not get addicted to alcohol like someone else, but you might get hooked on cocaine while they might try it once and never want it again.

    Drugs affect the brain in many various forms due to whatever science'y things you want to throw on each case. Crack has a higher probability of triggering addiction in the brain. Withdrawals can be pretty damn rough.

    Shrooms on the other hand have a low probability for addiction but a high chance of puking your guts if you take too much. You'll trip out but you don't get such cravings that you need to do it again or start having physical withdrawals.

    Not that I ever did them or puked my guts out, I'm responsible 😎

    I'd certainly would never try something like crack or heroin, that heavy crap has a high price with high risk.

    The point is, addiction is normal to everyone and their brains. Drugs interact and alter parts of your brain and perception. If they interact with your addiction part of the brain, it's like a parasite. In a sense it's a mental illness but not in the term of a crazy person who chops up strangers in an alley mental illness.

    But it is sort of a mental illness that we all have which is caused by the drug... Thus, it's normal.

    All you can do is try to avoid anything that you believe can be addictive... This includes prescription drugs, so ask your doctor about any concerns before trying any new medication for any reason. Make an informed decision.

    So I can't really vote

    Anyways,

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  • Addiction is no way illness. There is biological and mental addiction. Biological addiction is "cureable" with withdrawal and care, mental addiction is "cureable" with willpower and care. There is no physical substance that you just add and get free of addiction, therefore it is not an illness. IMHO.

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  • Addiction is a Mental Illness

    alcoholrehab.com/.../

    Defining Addiction
    An addiction can be classified as a mental illness in that it is the progressive psychological deterioration resulting from a dependence on a substance. Like other mental illnesses, substance abuse affects people from all ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Genetics, environment, childhood experiences, peers and trauma play a significant role in the development of an addiction.

    Addiction is defined as a physical and psychological dependence on a mind-altering substance or as the compulsive us and dependence on a psychoactive substance. The World Health Organization defines addiction as a dependence syndrome. The term dependence is used by the WHO in replacement of addiction, although they are both considered the same condition. This syndrome is a cluster of physiological, behavioral and cognitive phenomena that develops after repeated substance use.

    The clinical definition of dependence syndrome, or addiction, includes the following elements:

    * A strong desire or sense of compulsion to take the substance
    * Difficulties in controlling substance-taking behavior in terms of its onset, termination or levels of use
    * A physiological withdrawal state when substance use has ceased or have been reduced, as evidenced by the characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance, or use of the same (or closely related) substance with the intention of relieving or avoiding withdrawal symptoms
    * Evidence of tolerance, such that increased doses of the psychoactive substance are required in order to achieve effects originally produced by lower doses (clear examples of this are found in alcohol- and opiate-dependent individuals who may take daily doses sufficient to incapacitate or kill non-tolerant users)
    * Progressive neglect of alternative pleasures or interests because of psychoactive substance use, increased amount of time necessary to obtain or take the substance or to recover from its effects
    * Persisting with substance use despite clear evidence of overtly harmful consequences, such as harm to the liver through excessive drinking, depressive mood states consequent to periods of heavy substance use, or drug-related impairment of cognitive functioning; efforts should be made to determine that the user was actually, or could be expected to be, aware of the nature and extent of the harm.

    Addiction as a

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  • According to psychologist we all have mental disorders then. This is what I hate about psychology they pick and choose what is and isn't a mental disorder. And addictions is a great example any drug addiction is a mental disorder but something like a video game or sports addiction isn't lol.

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  • It depends on the addiction. Some addictions, like smoking, alcohol, and heroin are physical (i. e., there are physical symptoms of withdrawal) while others, such as gambling, Facebook/Internet, and porn, are mental (i. e., no physical symptoms of withdrawal).

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  • Depending on your "poison," I could see answers as yes or no.

    I think this depends on the "poison" that the person is using.

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  • it is as it is a psychological thing it is impossible that your body gets addicted to something it is about your mindset when using a substance. so in a sense yes it is a mental illness

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  • It is a sickness as an alergy aspect.
    Everytime i drink I breakout in handcuffs.

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  • It's fueled by mental illness. The desire to self medicate is strong with the absence of an alternative.

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  • It literally changes the brain and allows the limbic system to bypass the frontal lobe. Hijacking the the decision making process.

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    • The fact that so many people think this is about willpower is bothering me

  • Mental illnesses may be sufficient to cause addiction. I can't imagine it being a mental illness, in general, though. One immediately asks whether a mental illness was present before becoming addicted or after.

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  • Yes it is a disease but it does not entirely excuse addicts some people are naturally prone to addiction and are more likely to choose drugs, but it's your choice whether you take drugs the first time or not

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  • It 100% is. I hate how this stupid 18 year old girls facebook post is going viral. The "your addiction is not a disease" I do agree people often enable drug addicts but it IS an illness. There is plenty of research to back this and im a recovering addict speaking from experience. Medical intervention (methadone therapy) saved my life I've been clean for almost 2 years... It cost an arm and a leg though so I realize a lot of folks can't afford the help they need. We shouldn't profit on someone's illness as a society we need to help people become productive members if society its good for everyone involved..

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  • Addiction can lead to physical issues,(like smoking), but the addition itself is mental.

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    • Opiates, benzos, alcohol have physical withdrawal symptoms that can kill

  • No, it's no a mental I'll, because if everybody who drinks coffee had a mental I'll, coffee would be illegal.

    People can get off all those addictions, the want has to be there and they cannot just cut cold turkey, you have to replace it with something.

    I drink coffee off and on, when I quit I have a hot chocolate or something for a day or two and never notice the side effect of losing the coffee. Of course sugar is the key thing and maybe the coaco, but then you stop the HC, and it's gone.

    They just need to be shown that it's possible. Besides some people like the addiction, they don't care to stop.

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  • it is some sort cause even it hurts you, its tough to stop

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  • auction is just like a hobby, how could it be considered as an illness?

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  • Becoming addicted to addictive substances doesn't mean you're mentally ill. It means you're human, and you made some bad decisions.

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  • It's more of a physical illness that just so happens to impact the brain.

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  • "addiction" is such a overused word.
    it can be yes/no and everything.

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  • i think it is. cause i feel like some people just generally tend to addiction and some don´t.

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  • yes... i should know... a lot of people i know have addictions

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  • it depends on what the addiction is for?

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  • I think so. It sure is sick in the head.

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  • Yes it is. Now quit watching porn!

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  • nope its not

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  • depends on addictet to what... and why

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    • Explain.

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    • Not everyone who smokes crack becomes a crack addict either.

    • @the-mad-german. This is like saying because people know unprotected sex can be dangerous. If the catch HIV then they don't have a disease. This argument makes no sense.

  • No, but it's caused by mental illness.

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  • As someone who has a long history of substance use, I will tell you addiction isn't an illness. Drug addiction is the overwhelming urge for a particular substance, be it physical urge or mental. Dependency can't be cured with a magic pill, it has to be beaten by you, it's a battle. I believe that if someone really wants to stop using, and I meam REALLY wants to, they will. Herion, weed, cigarettes they can all be stopped by any one of us if we've truly had enough

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