Drug abuse and addiction are terrible issues that damage families and entire communities. It is a problem that affects millions of Americans, yet it is still relatively unknown. The majority of society understands addiction to be an issue in which individuals have little to no control over their actions when it comes to drinking, drugs or other dangerous activities like gambling or sex. Unfortunately, most believe it is a problem of strength, morals or responsibility. Addiction does not discriminate and it is still a mystery why some people become addicted, while others do not have that problem. The reality is that addiction is very complicated and works on a person in different ways. Drugs and alcohol affect the mind, body and even soul of a person. They can be completely consumed by the action and destroy their lives. When treating addiction an addict must go through an assessment. At which time a professional gauges the severity of the addiction and provides a system of treatment. That assessment is based on the specific treatment center. At this level addiction is assessed and given a measure. Can addiction be measured? Can an addict be given a number of severity for their addiction? The complexity of addiction, with the endless variables in life and substance abuse, say that it is not possible. Professionals are discussing and working towards a new instrument that can gauge the severity of addiction.

Measuring Addiction

When an addict faces their addiction and accepts help from professionals they enter a program for drug abuse and addiction treatment. That treatment is comprehensive and begins with a consultation of sorts. The addict meets with a professional to discuss their drug addiction. They answer questions and enter a discussion on how long they have been using drugs and alcohol. How much of that drug/alcohol, dosage, they use and how often they do. They describe why and when they use these drugs and when their addiction started. Understanding the extent to which the addict uses drugs and some information about their past and family history can help the treatment center provide a treatment plan that is best suited for that individual addict. As of today, there is no set scale for the severity and propensity of addiction, but many believe that it should be developed. By creating a general scale for addiction professionals could be better prepared to help those suffering from addiction. It could also mistakenly place addiction into a neat box, which it cannot fit. The question then becomes, is it possible to measure the severity of an addiction? A simple, black and white, answer would be yes. It is easy to see that given a scale of one to ten a professional can say that the binge drinking, functioning alcoholic is closer to a one or two. While, the heroin addict who has stolen from friends and family, lives on the street and have been imprisoned for their habit and related activities is more like an eight or nine.

Severity of Addiction

Measuring addiction is a complicated matter. Addiction affects the mind, body and soul of an addict. It could be easy to gauge or measure the physical state of the addict because physical empirical evidence can be gathered and studied. The state of chemical balance in the brain could also be determined through expensive medical examinations. Finally, with the help of trained medical professionals, the mental or soul state of the individual could be assessed. Quantifying this last issue could be troublesome and increasingly so when it is combined with the first two. Measuring the severity of addiction does seem to be possible, but it is a difficult task. Years of study, theorizing and application by professionals would be necessary.