My name is Michael Pond and I live with an alcohol use disorder. (AUD) That’s what we now call alcoholism in the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5. In psychology and psychiatry, the DSM-5 is our bible.
The change in language is in part to address the reality that so much of the talk around alcoholism, – e.g. – “addict,” “getting clean,” “alcohol abuser,” “drunk” is negative and casts a moral tone over what science has proven is a medical problem.
What’s also proven is that making someone feel bad about their drinking or using only makes the disorder worse. That’s why I’m so excited to be an integral part of this new website. I believe changing the conversation about addiction will help sufferers and their families, heal.
There’s been much discussion and debate in recent years over exactly what addiction is: self-medicating, disease, disorder, learned behaviour, lack of willpower, choice, spiritual malady, hijacked reward circuitry. That debate may continue for some time. I only know regardless of what you call it, those of us who have the misfortune to be predisposed to addiction, end up very ill. So ill, we may die. Like anyone else gravely ill, we deserve the best compassionate, evidence-based care available.
You, the taxpayer, continue to foot the bill for failed treatment and failed policy. There is very likely someone you know or love suffering from a substance use disorder. It’s time they got the treatment they deserve.