Defining addiction

Addiction is defined as a chronic dysfunction in the brain that typically involves motivation, memory and reward.

The primary objective is the attainability of a ‘reward’ which is achieved through actions of compulsive or obsessive pursuit. Substances and behaviours create a pleasurable ‘high’ that’s both physical and psychological.

Thus, a pattern develops in a person’s habits whereby they use more of the substance or engage in certain behaviours more frequently to achieve that ‘high’ again, repeatedly satisfying the craving. This ‘craving’ becomes difficult to stop over time and often comes with a lack of concern over the consequences of this behaviour.

Addictions, no matter the type, are disruptive and can seriously interfere with a person’s daily life. An addictive existence often results in cycles of relapse and remission. Cycles range from mild to intense, but all addictions are capable of worsening over time. Serious consequences, as well as more permanent health complications can, and do, happen with those affected by addictions.

NEXT What are the signs of addiction?

Other Articles of Interest