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“Behavioral Addiction – Not Otherwise Specified”

I recently read an article, “Addiction Diagnoses May Rise Under Guideline Changes” in the New York Times, and I’d like to share my thoughts here on Pat Moore Foundation’s blog. Having worked in, been around, and walked the walk of addiction recovery, I think the changing of the guidelines is perfectly reasonable.

I’ll get to why I think it is reasonable in just a moment, but first I want to comment on something else. When reading the article, my impression was that some professionals (doctors and economists) feel this would cost way too much. They also are of the opinion that this new level of diagnosis would inflate the statistics…considerably. This comment, which I paraphrased, is by Thomas F. Babor, a psychiatric epidemiologist at the University of Connecticut. Where I can understand he is entitled to his opinion and he certainly has the credentials that provide weight to them, I think using the words, “These sorts of diagnoses could be a real embarrassment,” is short sighted. Of course it’s possible with my regular education I might not understand what he is talking about. I’ll admit that.

What I take a position on is the use of the word ‘embarrassment.’ Why use such a word? Addiction is a disease and nothing to be embarrassed about. Whether a person is highly addicted or mildly addicted, or just a substance abuser, they still need help. Period. There is no embarrassment in asking for help.

Personally, and thankfully, on my road to recovery, I saw the writing on the wall at a young age. I am fortunate enough to have addiction run in my family and have friends who are addicts. As I said, I saw the writing on the wall long before my life fell completely apart. You don’t need to be homeless, or have a heroin needle sticking out of your arm in some sleazy hotel somewhere to have a problem with drugs and alcohol. For me it was a pattern of recklessness that was getting me into trouble.

So, I think by expanding the criteria for addiction diagnosis we allow a broader psychiatric definition for addiction. More people would be helped in the long run…and isn’t that what really matters? Not a bottom line.

(The opinion of Recovery Rob is sole his and does not represent the opinions, feelings, and position in part or whole of Pat Moore Foundation.)

Recovery Rob BIO

Recovery Rob is a 47-year-old man who has more than nineteen years of sobriety, whose drugs of choice at one time were alcohol and drugs, and he has worked in and around the field of addiction for more than 20 years. Having just recently launched his own website,, he hopes to reach out and continue to help others who work through their process of addiction and recovery. Recovery Rob is a professional writer who has published two novels and is currently working on his third. He has been writing and working as Pat Moore Foundation’s premiere blogger and content writer, which helps keeps Pat Moore Foundation’s addiction and recovery blog top-rated.