What is the Name of a Person with an Addiction?

The word 'addict' is generally used to refer to someone who is addicted to drugs, even if it's something good. A mutual aid organization or peer support group for people affected by a loved one's alcohol use disorder is based on the 12-step principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The focus is more on changing oneself and interaction patterns with the addicted loved one, rather than trying to change the behavior of the person addicted to alcohol directly. Confidentiality is important in the field of addictions, as people generally prefer that their name or addiction status not be known due to possible stigma and discrimination.

The founding text of the organization Narcotics Anonymous (NA) describes the 12 steps and 12 traditions that are at the core of the program, as well as containing personal stories of active addiction and recovery. The nickname of the basic fundamental text of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is 'The Big Book', which describes the 12 steps that are at the core of the program, as well as containing personal stories of alcohol addiction and recovery. A deity or supreme being, a malleable conception of God or a “power greater than ourselves”, is popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is an international scholarship for people with problematic drug use, based on the principles, practices and structure of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

It is a non-professional, self-sufficient, multiracial and apolitical organization open to all ages, offering meetings in more than 100 countries. NA revolves around its main text, known as Basic Text. A volunteer who is currently practicing the 12-step recovery program promoted by AA or other 12-step mutual aid organizations is known as a 'sponsor'. An evidence-based clinical approach to the treatment of substance use disorder is based on the principles of AA and NA with two main objectives: motivating the patient to develop the desire to stop using substances and recognizing the need for participation in community-based 12-step mutual aid organizations, such as AA and NA, as a means to sustain long-term recovery.

A derisory term used to describe people in AA or other 12-step programs who practice the first step and parts of step 12 of the 12-step program is 'dry drunk'. The Associated Press recently took an important step in that direction by stating that 'addict' should no longer be used as a noun in its widely used AP Stylebook. Instead, they suggest phrasing such as 'if he were an addict', 'people with a heroin addiction' or 'who used drugs'. This separates the person from the disease.

In popular culture, there is an image that has become associated with people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol - that of an “addictive personality”. However, most addiction researchers today warn against this idea of a single personality type that is prone to addiction. An article in Scientific American verifies this fact and offers evidence that there is not a single personality type that leads to addiction. The term “tough love” was first used in 1976 but was not applied to addiction until the 1980s when David and Phyllis York wrote an influential book on addiction and their daughter's rehabilitation.

When people are stabilized with an appropriate individualized dose of any drug for addiction treatment, they are not affected at all because of how this class of drugs affects the brain and causes tolerance. The American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM) states that addiction is a primary, chronic neurobiological disease with genetic, psychosocial and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestation. Addiction treatment requires support from family or community and may include medications such as naltrexone, buprenorphine or methadone along with counseling.

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