Addiction requires Chronic Care Management

Dealing with addiction requires an understanding of addiction as a chronic brain disease.  American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), (2011) defined addiction as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.”  Addiction is a mental illness, and the changes brought about by addiction occur in some of the same brain areas that are disrupted in other mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia (Volkow, 2010). However, conventional treatment for addiction and the mental illness that accompanies it, continues to be fragmented at best with contacts with some of the providers disguised as case management.  At times the family is involved, but most times separated from the work. 

Like other chronic diseases, managing addiction, chronic mental illness, and combination of both, usually referred to as dual diagnosis, will require a transformation in the way care is delivered. 

American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2011). Definition of Addiction. Retrieved from

Volkow, N (2010). Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses,  National Institute of Drug Addiction. Retrieved from

Melinda Drake, LCSW (CA, NY & HI), LISW CP & AP (SC)

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