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What is Addiction?

Learn what our licensed psychologist and addiction counselor, Travis Porter, has to say about addiction and mental health.

Video Transcript:

Hi, my name is Travis Porter and I work at Diversus Health. I’m a licensed psychologist and licensed addiction counselor.

What is addiction?

To answer that, I’d like to turn to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. They define addiction as a treatable, chronic medical disease, involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences. Prevention efforts and treatment approaches are generally as successful as those for other chronic diseases.

What are the signs of addiction?

There are three signs that we look for among others. First, a persistent use despite negative consequences. Second, an inability to control use. Third, craving.

Is addiction a choice?

No. Addiction used to be thought of as a choice, but now we know, because of brain imaging, that craving can be present long after substance use has stopped. Craving defeats the choice argument, because while a person can choose to stop using, they can’t choose to not crave. In short, addiction is a disease of choice, because it affects the parts of the brain we need to make wise decisions.

What are some additional resources?

There are three sources I like to direct people toward. The first is “The Anonymous People,” a documentary about the 23.5 million Americans living in long-term recovery. The second is “Pleasure Unwoven” featuring a physician in recovery, Kevin McCauley. Third, is the HBO series, “Addiction.” These resources can be found online.

*If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, consider requesting an appointment to speak with one of our professional mental health providers at Diversus Health today. If you need immediate assistance, please call our crisis hotline at 844-493-8255, or text ‘TALK’ to 38255.

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