American Psychiatric Association redefines definition of alcoholism

Posted at 7:09 PM, May 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-16 19:09:18-04

Twenty million more Americans –including 40 percent of all college students— could be considered alcoholics by this time next year.

It’s not that more people are drinking, but rather a change in the definition of alcoholism.

The American Psychiatric Association is releasing new guidelines that redefine addiction.

Currently, drug and alcohol problems are categorized as substance abuse –a short term problem like binge drinking in college.

Then there's substance dependence – a long term problem like alcoholism.

The new guidelines would give only one diagnosis for addiction with varying degrees including mild, moderate or severe.

Supporters say untreated illness would get more attention.

But opponents say it will artificially inflate the actual numbers.