The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the standardized text and clinical reference used by psychologists and therapists across North America to diagnose their clients and assess whether they need drug treatment.
The manual includes the names, features, symptoms, and demographical information on all the recognized mental illnesses, including addictions. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) will published the fifth edition of the DSM in May of 2013, which was the culmination of a 14-year revision process.
The APA is a national medical specialty society whose more than 36,000 physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses, including substance use disorders.
However, the field of psychology recognizes that there are other forms of addiction, not just those to alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamines, and other illicit drugs.
The idea of being addicted to the Internet, for example, might sound odd, yet the most recent edition of the DSM outlines a new definition of addiction. It includes a diagnosis for non-substance addictions, such as Internet use, and any other behavior that an individual has lost power over.