The process addictions and the new ASAM definition of addiction

J Psychoactive Drugs. 2012 Jan-Mar;44(1):1-4. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2012.662105.


Addiction is a primary, chronic disease involving brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry; it can lead to relapse, progressive development, and the potential for fatality if not treated. While pathological use of alcohol and, more recently, psychoactive substances have been accepted as addictive diseases, developing brain science has set the stage for inclusion of the process addictions, including food, sex, shopping and gambling problems, in a broader definition of addiction as set forth by the American Society of Addiction Medicine in 2011.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Addictive* / etiology
  • Behavior, Addictive* / physiopathology
  • Behavior, Addictive* / psychology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Humans
  • Reward
  • Societies, Medical