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Characteristics of Addiction   PDF  Print  Email 

addiction drug sign
Three aspects that characterize addiction are:

Loss of control: The user cannot predict what will happen when he uses the substance. One day he may be able to stop after one drink, or after one line of cocaine; the next day he may not be able to control his use at all.

Compulsive preoccupation: The addict spends a great deal of time thinking about the substance.

Continued use despite negative consequences: If drinking or drug use causes problems but one continues to do it, one is tempting addiction or is already addicted. The person has lost voluntary control of the use of that substance.

A nonuser or casual alcohol/drug user may have difficulty understanding why addicts don't just stop. Use and abuse of psychoactive (mood-altering) drugs seem to be voluntary; addiction seems to be characterized by involuntary, compulsive use. In most cases, drug addicts don't stop because they are addicted. They cannot stop on their own.

Index of Terms

TermDefinition
Addict adĚdict - n. a person who has a habit so strong that it cannot easily be given up [a "drug" addict]
v. to give onceself up to some strong habit [Some people are addicted to watching TV.]
Addiction ad·dic·tion - n. the condition of being addicted to something [trying to conquer an addiction to drugs]
Drug drug - n. drugs essentially are poisons. The degree they are taken determines the effect. A small amount acts as a stimulant. A greater amount acts as a sedative. A larger amount acts as a poison and can kill one dead. This is true of any drug. Each has a different amount at which it gives those results.
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