The A-to-Z’s of mental health, Addiction

A-Z Banner 2014





For the month of April I am participating in the annual A-Z Blogging Challenge. The Challenge was started by author/blogger, Arlee Byrd. Each day of the month (except Sundays) we will post something based on that days correlating letter. Some of us chose a theme and others are winging it. My theme is the A-to-Z’s of Mental Health, Raising Awareness. It is a topic that is very close to my heart. I hope you find the posts interesting and you will comment and share the posts everywhere. To see a list of all of the participants or for more information-

 Today’s letter is A

A-Z letter A                           






In 2010 the American Society of Addiction Medicine [ASAM], after four-years of research that involved eighty experts, released a new definition of Addiction.

Short Definition of Addiction:

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, and craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

Debates are ongoing on whether addiction is an actual disease or a mental illness.


I believe that there are two types of addiction. One is an actual physical addiction, where the body adapts to the substance.   Removing that substance causes an actual biological response. Treating this addiction, I believe is much easier and has a higher success rate. You just have to remove the substance.

The other type of addiction is the type that is not related to physical dependence but is a psychological habit. These people compulsively use drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling, shopping and many other activities in reaction to being emotionally stressed. Treating this type of addiction is more complicated and requires an understanding of how it works psychologically as well as extensive behavior therapy.

Is it a disease or a mental illness? Is it both? What do you believe?

The good news is no matter how many times the addict has tried to quit, no matter how hopeless the situation appears recovery is always within reach if the addict is willing to commit to change.

You must change and learn a new way to deal with stress. You must choose very carefully who you allow in your life. People are either for you or against you, learn the difference. Keep busy. Examine how you think about yourself and learn to have a positive self image. Lean on your family and friends if they are positively supportive. Build a sober network. And, “because you can get the monkey off your back but the circus never leaves town,” [Anne Lamott] attend meetings and pay it forward.

 September 2014 is National Recovery Month. There will be opportunities to volunteer…



36 Responses to “The A-to-Z’s of mental health, Addiction”

Leave a Reply

Stranger In My Recliner book cover
Realize Your Writing Dreams by Doreen McGettigan
Book - Bristol Boyz Stomp by Doreen McGettigan
Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz