Sweeping changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) mean that potentially 60% more people will now be considered to have an alcohol addiction, including binge drinking students and other alcohol abusers. The new criteria will include symptoms which are far less severe than those previously related to alcohol addiction.
“My worry is that people will become confused about the nature of addiction and will believe that addicts have a choice,” said Beth Burgess, Recovery Coach at Smyls. “Alcoholics already suffer from a lot of ignorance and misunderstanding, and by putting people who really aren't addicted into the diagnoses, this will increase the stigma against people with a serious problem.”
The DSM will have three new categories of addiction, listing cases as either mild, moderate or severe; but Ms Burgess says this is another red herring.
“You can't be a mild addict. The very nature of addiction means that either you are in control of your use of alcohol or you aren't,” Ms Burgess said. “True addicts have no choice, but this message will not get across to the general public if irresponsible drinkers are now branded as addicts.”
“The DSM changes ensure that treatment providers get paid for treating everyone with an alcohol problem. But I believe this move is at the expense of people who do have a real addiction. They don't have a choice. Including people with non-compulsive alcohol use will mean that the general public yet again gets to brand alcoholics as irresponsible hedonists, when we're actually people who are ill,” she added.
About Smyls Recovery Coaching
Founded by recovered alcoholic, Beth Burgess, Smyls empowers addicts to rebuild their lives after addiction. Beth Burgess regularly speaks about addiction and has written two books to help addicts recover and find happiness. Beth Burgess is only one of a handful of Recovery Coaches in the UK and is about to publish The Recovery Formula: An Addict's Guide to getting Clean & Sober Forever.
Founder & Recovery Coach, Smyls.
Tel: 077-909-57222 / E: firstname.lastname@example.org / W: http://www.smyls.co.uk