04.09.2017 At first hand

Editorial. Addiction is a disease (1). But addiction can also lead to marginalisation. Loneliness. Debt. Addiction can lead to loss of work, loss of social contacts – loss of zest for life. There are often deep-seated psychological problems behind addictive behaviour. The new National Strategy on Addiction therefore assumes a comprehensive, biopsychosocial disease model that includes physical, psychological and socioeconomic factors and views addiction not as a condition but rather as a dynamic process.

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Dependency can develop at any age, after any critical life event and from any crisis situation. The emergence of addictive behaviour is a possible response to prolonged stress at work or in the private sphere. The core concept of the early detection and intervention measures that are central to prevention is to recognise such developments early and react to them in an adequate fashion.

Given all the far-sighted and comprehensive considerations presented in the National Strategy on Addiction and the Action Plan, I feel personally committed not to forget the people who should ultimately benefit from the activities and developments, namely addiction-prone and dependent persons as well as their environment. It isn’t so much prevalence figures, socioeconomic costs or specialist knowledge of substances and behaviours that have remained with me from my earlier work in outpatient addiction counselling, but individual and diverse life stories. And I kept finding that dependency and addictive behaviour are not only widespread but that they are a subject that concerns us all and a fate that can befall many of us.

I look forward to assisting in implementing the National Strategy on Addiction and being able to rely on the vast experience and wealth of knowledge of all the partners and stakeholders. Based on our great enjoyment of the continued development, our interest in cooperation and the use of synergies, the National Strategy on Addiction is sure to be able to look back on many new achievements in 2024.

Mirjam Weber, Project Manager, National Strategy on Addiction

(1) Cf. WHO criteria catalogue ICD-10 (www.who.int/classifications/icd/en) and the American Psychiatric Association’s Manual DSM-5 (www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm)

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