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Opinion: What the DSM 5 gets wrong (and right) about addictionThe DSM or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is in its 5th edition and in this 5th edition it has made some edits  to a disease and word that applies heavily to  mine and your life especially if you have found yourself reading this; addiction. The DSM is meant to give doctors and psychiatrists kind of a guide book or bible if you will on how to diagnose disorders and diseases. This guide book should be as correct and science based as possible but due to its edits it has definitely gotten some things wrong, especially when it comes to addiction. Don’t get me wrong though, it has definitely gotten some things right.

This is the opinion: What the DSM 5 gets wrong (and right) about addiction

The DSM 5 has introduced behavioral addictions to the text

What is wrong with this? The DSM 5 has created a slippery slope by introducing the concept of Behavioral Addictions that eventually can spread to make a mental disorder of everything we like to do a lot. Watch out for careless over diagnosis of internet and sex addiction and the development of lucrative treatment programs to exploit these new markets.

What is right with this? The truth is some people need to be diagnosed with the disease of addiction even though they don’t experience the normal suffering of a withdrawal, the buildup of a tolerance and more like substance addicts do. People with gambling problems, sex problems and other behavioral issues can definitely fall under an addictive category but this is tricky and the DSM might have gotten it right but jumped to soon into adding it into the manual.

Substance Abusers or Problem Drinkers will be lumped in with the Hard Core Drug Addicts

What is wrong with this? First time substance abusers will be lumped in the definition of addiction with hard core addicts despite their very different treatment needs and prognosis. Not only does it do this, it also creates a whole new level of stigma against what addiction is. An example would be that someone who isn’t an addict but is diagnosed one based on the DSM 5 would be capable of just quitting. But someone like me wouldn’t be capable of doing that. So now the belief will be held that addicts can just stop. Do you see where I am getting at with this? It is lumping people who don’t really have what I have into a category with me; people who can stop, and don’t end up hurting people. This really could end up making looking addiction look like a moral failing on my part.

What is right with this? Not a whole lot in my opinion. It may save some unfortunate people from moving past the point of just being mere substance abusers or it could do the opposite. I am not really sure what is right about this to be totally honest.


Honestly I am not too qualified to be commenting on the DSM 5. All I know is my own experience with addiction. What do you think?

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