What Is Addiction?

Be Present In Your Own Life
Addiction is defined as:

A chronic relapsing brain disease that is characterised by compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences. (National Institute of Drug Addiction: NIDA)

The following criteria categorize the disease of addiction


  • An increasing amount of alcohol or drug is required to reach the desired effect


  • Physical or emotional withdrawal when alcohol or drug use has stopped.
  • Common symptoms are increased anxiety, irritability, shakes, sweats, nausea, and/or vomiting.

Limited control:

  • Unable to control the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Drinking to get drunk.
  • Feeling of regret the next day.

Negative consequences:

  • Changes in mood, self-esteem, health, job, or family.
  • Neglected or postponed activities.
  • Decrease in the amount of work, social activities, and/or household activities.
  • Lying to conceal or minimize substance use.

Significant time or energy spent:

  • Obtaining, using, concealing substances.
  • Recovering from substance use.
  • Having thoughts to avoid getting caught.

Desire to cut down:

  • Thoughts about cutting down or controlling substance use.
  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control substance use.

People with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using. Hence they do not have control over their lives.

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