New addiction definition and the missing puzzle piece

The American Society of Addictions Medicine’s (ASAM) has a revised definition of addiction: “Addiction is 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 for addiction are generally as successful as those for other chronic diseases.”

Notice some key factors: It’s a complex chronic medical disease, and it’s just as successful to treat as other chronic diseases.

Depending on the severity, symptoms, and determined prognosis, addiction treatment options are numerous, just as they are for other chronic illnesses. Yet, Substance Use Disorders (SUD) continue to be assessed as acute illnesses which limit individualized treatment strategies into one size fits all.

We recently heard this from an addictions healthcare provider: “We only use one medication. Can you take out the recommendations for other medications in our reports?” A little shocking? What if doctors treating diabetes or heart disease ignored test results that did not align with their personal treatment preferences?

Compris©’s comprehensive 10 to 20-minute assessment elevates SUD to a chronic illness. It supplies a missing piece to this complex disease by asking the necessary questions for prevention and lasting outcomes. Compris’s level of care placement and treatment guidance include greater specificity at the confluence of illness prevention, acuity, severity, lifetime risk, and resilience. Recommendations target both emergent and ongoing concerns of addiction specialists, ER and primary care providers, as well as those of criminal justice, the VA, the armed services, and employee assistance programs.

Please help us standardize addiction assessment and treatment. Please visit our website at You can also help by following or sharing us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Thank you,

Joyce Ann and Calvin McGinn

Founders of Compris, the most comprehensive addiction diagnostics, prevention and treatment guide for healthcare providers, criminal justice reform, and EAPs.