What Does Addiction Mean?
An addiction is a disorder of the brain that compels a person engage in certain behavior regardless of the consequences. Addiction is often associated with substance abuse, but can also involve physical or emotional behaviors. The addict's actions are driven by a neurochemical reward cycle that the substance use or behavior triggers in the individual's brain. Certain substances also have painful psychical withdrawal effects that further reinforce the addict's behavior.
The primary characteristics of addiction are an inability to stop engaging in the harmful activity or usage, a general lack of self-control, a craving for the substance or other focus of the addiction, and denial of the consequences of the addictive behavior.
A combination of factors may contribute to a person's likelihood to suffer from addiction. Scientists believe that there is a genetic foundation for some addictive behaviors. Environmental and cultural factors also play a role. Additionally, biological or neurological disorders may cause some individuals to be more susceptible to addiction.