- The cardinal symptom of addiction is the inability to limit use of a substance or activity beyond need leading to clinically significant impairment.
- There is a craving or compulsion to use the substance or activity.
- Recurrent use of the drug or activity escalates to achieve the desired effect, indicating tolerance.
- Attempts to stop usage produce symptoms of withdrawal—irritability, anxiety, shakes, nausea.
- Recurrent use of the substance or activity impairs work, social, and family responsibilities, creates psychological impairments and interpersonal problems, has negative effects on health, mood, self-respect, exacerbated by the effects of the specific substance itself.
There are many symptoms created by the specific substance/activity that is used.
All addictions have the capacity to induce feelings of shame and guilt, a sense of hopelessness, and feelings of failure. In addition, anxiety and depression are common conditions among those with substance and behavioral addictions.