Experts Debate Symptoms of Addiction

By Staff Writer

Addicts at drug rehab facilities would most likely say that cravings for drugs are a strong component of their chemical dependency. For this reason, “cravings” was recently added as a symptom of drug addiction to the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders, which is commonly used as the basis for diagnoses of all mental problems.

Despite this consensus among addicts and drug rehab workers, some experts have expressed concern that this new classification may lead to confusion and possibly misdiagnosis in some individuals.

Dr. Howard Moss, a Maryland-based psychiatrist, recently wrote in the Psychiatric Times that the concept of craving remains very subjective and poorly defined. While some would characterize the feeling as an anticipation of the pleasures of drug use, others would define it as an urge or desire. Furthermore, these characteristics may be experienced differently by different users.

While Moss recognized that cravings experienced by addicts play a major role in chemical dependency, he suggested that more research should be conducted to accurately define the concept.

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual will be released in May of 2013. Proposed changes to the diagnostic authority have stirred significant controversy, as the cravings debate illustrates.