A Federal judge once concluded in a famous lawsuit: It was clear that psychiatrists get together to define various disorders, and then every so often, get back together to redefine them.
It certainly makes sense that if you suffer from a major mental illness, you should stay away from pot.
Perhaps 20% of users will experience withdrawal– evidence of their dependence on the drug– regardless of whether they have other symptoms.
Some observers have criticized us for orienting treatment methods to more severe cases, but that’s predominantly who we see in many forms of treatment.
Having that particular label implies– the need to make a number of important changes in lifestyle that the patient frankly doesn’t feel like making.
The way addicts and alcoholics themselves talk about their condition (“an emotional disease,” “a parasite the feeds on our emotions”, “an emotional cancer,” “a fear based disease”) is rarely considered in theories of addiction.
While it may have similarities to other disorders, the emotional dysregulation that characterizes addiction is not the same.
Craving has finally been added to the symptom list. I was never entirely clear on why it wasn’t included in DSM-IV, since there’s an impressive body of research on craving measurement.