Karl Benzio, M.D., States New Definitions Offer Improvements, but Miss the Mark in Major Areas of Opportunity.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, which will be released in May 2013, will broaden the definition of addiction.
The broadened definition may encourage earlier treatment, but ignores reasons that patients abuse substances in its definitions and treatment plans.
Local addictions expert and Lighthouse Network founder Karl Benzio, M.D. recommends a holistic approach to addiction diagnosis and management.
PHILADELPHIA – There has been great controversy around the new, expanded definition of addiction to be listed in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5. There are some clear benefits to the refined definition:
There is less confusion about whether to categorize the patient as substance abuse or substance dependence, as these are combined under the DSM-5 definition.
Patients who are taking prescription pain medications according to their doctor’s orders will not be considered addicts, even though they might have a physiological dependency on the drug.
New categories of behavioral addiction will now be recognized which includes pathological gambling. Soon to be included are shopping, Internet, sex, screen, and work addictions.
Under the new definition, the list of possible symptoms used to diagnose someone with addiction increases, while the number of symptoms an individual must exhibit to be diagnosed decreases. As a result, more people will receive substance use diagnoses, but in many cases underlying causes of substance abuse will never be addressed.
Local mental health and addiction expert, Dr. Karl Benzio, expects that the broader nature of the DSM’s new addiction definition will help individuals with a wide variety of addiction issues receive quicker diagnoses and treatment, but misses a major opportunity to identify core issues that lead to continued substance use. Dr. Benzio is a doctor of psychiatry and the Founder and Executive Director of the Lighthouse Network, an addiction and mental health consulting and referral program.
“We have an opportunity to outline and categorize the spectrum of addiction based on why substance users choose to use from their very first substance encounter,” states Benzio. Identifying these reasons after a user experiences several consequences is often too late. I equate it to receiving a stage four or five cancer diagnosis when you could have caught it at stage one or two.”
Benzio, who is also a recovering alcoholic and now designs programs to treat addicts, states that both psychological and spiritual issues must be addressed for true recovery to take effect.
“As a practice, we focus too narrowly on what we can fix from a medical perspective,” Benzio added. “Research shows us that spirituality can influence recovery from a wide variety of issues, especially addiction. It’s time to infuse that treatment knowledge into the diagnostic criteria, so we can finally bring spiritual power and clearer psychological understanding to individuals and society about diagnoses and cures of addictions.”
Benzio recommends a more holistic approach to addiction diagnosis and management.
“Decision-Making sciences will eventually be the key that cracks the secret code that is Addictions, because decision-making is where all three spheres of Spirit, Mind, and Body intersect in a powerful way,” concludes Benzio. “We say Addictions are holistic illnesses that need a holistic treatment approach, but since much of the medical and behavioral health profession is afraid to use God in the diagnostic testing or prescription pad, we shouldn’t be surprised at the difficulty in fully curing addiction that the current model produces.”
To help those that truly struggle with such addictions, or with other mental health issues, Lighthouse Network offers the free, 24-hour Lighthouse Network Addiction and Counseling Helpline toll-free at (844) 543-3242. Lighthouse Network works to guide struggling people through storms to find peace and find answers for people who have a hard time defining their particular problem or have difficulty finding the right answers from other often-confusing sources. Lighthouse Network finds life-changing treatment that altogether addresses spirit, mind and body, concerning addiction or psychiatric issues. Many have expressed relief to finally find Lighthouse Network so that help and healing may begin.