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  • Addiction Overview

  • Addiction Overview

    Addiction is a habit driven by mental or physical craving for a particular stimulus. The stimulus may be an activity or a chemical substance. The absence of the desired stimulus can cause different degrees of withdrawal, depending on the level of addiction.

    An addiction can be thought of as an abnormal or excessive dependence on a substance or task. The most common form of addiction is drug addition, which is the result of drug use and which can have significant health effects and may lead to criminal activity. The most common drug additions are alcholism and nicotine addictions. Like gambling additions, drug addictions also have significant psychological effects.

    The Nature of Drug Addiction

    A chronic, relapsing state, regarded by most clinicians and societies as a disorder. The various conditions commonly have individuals with a compulsion to self administer a chemical cocktail or drug with associated loss of self-control in limiting its intake. The condition may extend across a range of chemicals and a mixture of chemicals.

    The American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV) uses the term substance dependence instead of drug addiction and requires at least three of the following symptoms to be present for diagnosis:

      (1) tolerance;

      (2) withdrawal;

      (3) persistent desire or unsuccessful attempts to reduce use;

      (4) use in larger amounts than intended;

      (5) reduction in important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of drug use;

      (6) considerable time spent obtaining the substance; and

      (7) continued use despite health, social, or economic problems resulting from substance use.
    Substance abuse is felt to be a milder disorder characterized by the repetitive use of drugs that has a negative impact on the social or economic circumstances of the individual.

    Addictions can occur to many substances but in particular:






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