Guidelines Defining Alcoholics May Change

New guidelines are redefining addiction in a revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The American Psychiatric Association produces the book.

A New York Times article suggests 30 million more Americans could be diagnosed as having some sort of addiction whether drugs, alcohol, shopping or gambling.

Currently drug and alcohol problems are categorized as substance abuse a short term problem like binge drinking in college.

Then there's substance dependence a long term problem like alcoholism.

The new guidelines would give only one diagnosis for addiction with varying degrees mild, moderate or severe.

Supporters say untreated illness would get the attention it deserves under the revisions.

But opponents say it will artificially inflate the number of people categorized as addicts and end up costing hundreds of millions of dollars in what could be unnecessary treatment.

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