Addiction is a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm.

The term “addiction” does not only refer to dependence on substances such as heroin or cocaine. A person who cannot stop taking a particular drug or chemical has a substance dependence.

Addictions that involve an inability to stop partaking in activities, such as gambling, over- eating, over-spending may indicate a behavioral addiction.


The primary indications of addiction are:

  • uncontrollably seeking drugs

  • uncontrollably engaging in harmful levels of habit-forming behavior

  • neglecting or losing interest in activities that do not involve the harmful substance or behavior

  • relationship difficulties, which often involve lashing out at people who identify the dependency

  • an inability to stop using a drug, though it may be causing health problems or personal problems, such as issues with employment or relationships

  • hiding substances or behaviors and otherwise exercising secrecy, for example, by refusing to explain injuries that occurred while under the influence

  • profound changes in appearance, including a noticeable abandonment of hygiene

  • increased risk-taking, both to access the substance or activity and while using it or engaging in it


 Please note that the above is provided as information only and is not meant to be used as a diagnosis or take the place of professional counselling services.

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