Symptoms of Addiction

  • 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.

Recent Posts on Addiction

The Pain Mess

The treatment of chronic pain is a public health disaster

Getting Lost in the Noise

By Alex Korb Ph.D. on July 31, 2015 in PreFrontal Nudity
When trying to accomplish something great, if you check in too often with your progress, then you can be getting in your own way. I had to learn this the hard way, but, fortunately, there is a way out.

Taking Egoism Out of Consumerism

In a two part series, we invite readers to find the egoism in their consumerism and push it aside to make room for solidarity and a new kind of consumer society rooted in sustainability--of healthy conditions in the world's workplaces, fun spaces, and ecosystems. In this column we look at how inward-looking consumerism offers no way out of our stress filled digital lives.

A Stroll in Nature Improves Mental Health

As more and more of us live in cities, we spend less time in natural settings, including parks. Studies also show that people in urban settings without access to green spaces have higher levels of psychological problems than those with access to green spaces.

The Eight Best Ways to Make It through Rehab

People wonder what can be done to maximize their chances of only going to rehab once. Relapse does not necessarily need to be part of the recovery experience.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) And Addiction

The core feature of BPD is impulsivity and poor emotional regulation.

Changing Our Brains in a Good Way

Nature can help calm our overactive, multitasking brains.

How I Got Sober

By Anna David on July 30, 2015 in After Party Chat
I figured if quitting drugs and embracing clean living was as bad as I thought it would be, then I could re-think the suicide option.

Codependency in Five Easy Lessons

Codependency can be confusing for people in a relationship with someone who has an addiction to alcohol, drugs or compulsive behaviors. Here is a simple way to understand what is going on and avoid the pitfalls.

Uncovering the Past and Embracing the Future

The Resilience Regiment speaks with Capstone Treatment Center.

Invisible

By Fran Simone Ph.D. on July 28, 2015 in A Family Affair
Conflict is a part of every relationship. It’s often more pronounced for family’s affected by addiction. Often moms, dads, sisters and brothers disagree on how best to handle the thorny situations fueled by the addict’s behavior.

The Psychology Of Live Online Casino Gambling

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on July 28, 2015 in In Excess
One of the main reasons I don’t like gambling at Internet casinos is that I believe the majority of game outcome are likely to be pre-programmed and/or predetermined. To me, this is somewhat akin to playing with imaginary dice! But what do we know psychologically about what factors promote and inhibit gambling online?

Rx Pain Meds and Teens – A Troubling Combination

Do you know about the dangers lurking in your medicine cabinet? Chances are, like many of us, you have one or more unused prescription bottles sitting in your medicine cabinet right now. For parents with teens, this can be a very dangerous scenario.

4 Keys to Happiness

Happiness is not about what you need from others, it is really about what you are willing to give to others.

Heroin Abuse is on our Doorstep

Of course, I see it every day because I work in the addiction treatment field, but increasingly, families that never thought they’d be touched by substance abuse or addiction are having just that experience.

Cheating Yourself? I Hear the Advice, I Do What I Want

Real behaviour change is not about willpower, or stages of change, but about satisfying wants and dealing with needs along the way.......it is about coherence at all levels of the person......

Improving Self-Control by Enhancing Working Memory

Successful self-control involves the active maintenance of goals and goal-relevant information in working memory.

Better Than Chocolate

By Elias Aboujaoude M.D. on July 24, 2015 in Compulsive Acts
A new parent-child reward-punishment dynamic centered on technology.

4 Mental Health Disorders That May Thrive on Loneliness

By Kira Asatryan on July 23, 2015 in The Art of Closeness
It's possible you're not mentally ill. You're just lonely.

Are We Finally Ready to Invest in People, Not Prisons?

For too long, he said, harsh mandatory sentencing guidelines, mostly involving drug use, have been disproportionately affecting minorities and the poor, and costing both those who are imprisoned and the society paying for that imprisonment far too much.

3 Ineffective Ways I Tried to Manage and Enjoy My Drug Use

By Anna David on July 22, 2015 in After Party Chat
When you’re enjoying something, you’re not trying to manage it and when you’re trying to manage it, you’re no longer enjoying it. But I didn't know that so I tried a trifecta of ridiculous ways to keep my cocaine use under control.

The Psychology of Box Set Binging

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on July 21, 2015 in In Excess
Recent media stories have reported on the alleged negative effects of box-set bingeing (‘Watching TV box-set marathons is warning sign you're lonely and depressed - and will also make you fat’). But what do we know about box-set bingeing psychologically and is it really bad for our health?

5 Ceremonies of Healing

Simple ceremonies that you create and enact can help you heal emotionally and maintain your mental health.

Revolutionary Relief

A one-two punch of blocking cravings and bolstering mental health is the secret to success at Start Fresh Recovery.

Gambling: Harmless Fun or Perilous Compulsion?

By E E Smith on July 19, 2015 in Not Born Yesterday
Omar Sharif, who died recently, was known for his roles in great movies like "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago." Many people also knew that he was a world-class bridge player but I, for one, was surprised to learn that he had lost several fortunes over the years while gambling on the game.

Heroin: A Growing Problem

Heroin use has increased across the U.S. among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels.

Listening to Your Body

This is common among addicts. We use whether we feel good or not. We use more when we feel bad, sick, lethargic, or stressed out.

The Benefits of a Trauma-Sensitive Approach to Healing Shame

I have created a compassion cure program for former victims of trauma that includes: self-understanding, self-forgiveness, self-acceptance, self-kindness, and self-encouragement. This article focuses on the first of these five components of self-compassion.

5 Reasons We Act Impulsively

We need to treat willpower as a limited and important resource.

Negotiating Your True Worth

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on July 16, 2015 in Obesely Speaking
Understanding what you are versus who you are in a world that understands neither.