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

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Beyond Sobriety -- Reclaiming Your Potential

By Mel Schwartz L.C.S.W. on August 24, 2016 in A Shift of Mind
Can people move past the imprint of having been an addict? Does having to continue to see yourself through the snapshot of old behavior impede your personal growth?

Screenagers and technology use

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on August 24, 2016 in In Excess
There has been a lot of debate about how much time children should spend in front of screens. I argue content and context of screen time is more import than the amount of time.

Video Games Stronger Than Morphine: U.S. Military

The Military has discovered that playing video games can be more effective than morphine in treating combat burn veterans--but what is this digital morphine doing to kids brains?

International Overdose Awareness Day

By Indra Cidambi, M.D. on August 23, 2016 in Sure Recovery
Knowing the importance of International Overdose Awareness Day.

Deconstructing Ryan Lochte's Shame and Fear of Vulnerability

By Christopher Bergland on August 19, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Ryan Lochte is in the hot seat for his shameful after-hours behavior in Rio last weekend. Is his apology for "not being more candid and careful" enough to appease his shame?

Addiction Treatment Loses When Insurance Companies Get Cheap

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on August 19, 2016 in All About Addiction
Insurance payments are a major source of the problems with addiction treatment—from low reimbursement rates leading to terrible treatment practices to abuse by greedy providers.
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Here’s How Creative Arts Can Diminish Stress

While there’s no way for you to avoid stress entirely, you can use it to your advantage and harness its energy to create meaningful artistic expressions.
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As Research Advances, Treatment for Depression Gets Better

By Richard Taite on August 19, 2016 in Ending Addiction for Good
If an individual is open to trying a wide variety of treatments, a new life is more than possible for those held down by depression. There is something that can be done.

Are Olympians Addicted to Exercise, Work or Neither?

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on August 16, 2016 in In Excess
Olympic athletes are dedicated to their profession and spend hours every day training and exercising. But are Olympic athletes addicted to exercise, their work, or neither?

Michael Phelps’ Heroic Journey Goes Far Beyond Gold Medals

By Christopher Bergland on August 15, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Michael Phelps is the most-decorated Olympian of all time. He's also a role model for sharing intimate details of how he completed the hero's journey after hitting rock bottom.

Can Disappointment Become an Addiction?

When disappointment and hurt have been deep and consistent, it can, paradoxically, become pleasurable.

ADHD and Michael Phelps: Medication Is Not a Crutch

Not taking stimulant medication for your diagnosed ADHD? You still have ADHD.
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Texas Just Made Naloxone Available Over the Counter

If you don’t live in the Lone Star state, you may have missed some big news about opioid overdose prevention happening now.

How Medication Can Help Prevent Opioid Relapse

One lapse can be deadly when trying to overcome an addiction to drugs like heroin or prescription painkillers, but medication-assisted treatment can help counter that risk.
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3 Ways to Get Yourself Out of a Rut

By Richard Taite on August 12, 2016 in Ending Addiction for Good
It’s easy to wake up one day to find yourself in a rut, when your life’s momentum has stalled and you’re not sure what will come next.

The Psychological Roots of Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go scratches some basic psychological itches

Consequences of Compulsive Sexual Behavior

By Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, Brian L. Odlaug, PhD, MPH, and Samuel R. Chamberlain, MD, PhD on August 12, 2016 in Why Can't I Stop?
Individuals with CSB (compulsive sexual behavior) may face a variety of medical complications, including unwanted pregnancies; sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS

How Social Constructionism Created the Sex Addiction Model

By Michael Aaron, Ph.D. on August 11, 2016 in Standard Deviations
An ideological belief in the malleability of sexuality has given rise to the sex addiction movement.

No Shame: Why Michael Phelps Deserved to Carry the U.S. Flag

By Jason Powers M.D. on August 10, 2016 in Beyond Abstinence
Two years ago, the most decorated Olympian of all time was so mired in depression that he thought about killing himself. His comeback on dry land inspires me the most.

The Truman Show Delusion

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on August 10, 2016 in In Excess
Watching reality television shows do not cause psychotic or delusional episodes. However, those with underlying illnesses (e.g., schizophrenia) may develop a Truman Show Delusion.

Most Problem Drinkers Learn to Change Their Drinking

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on August 09, 2016 in All About Addiction
You've heard it before: "once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic." The idea that "addiction" is an inescapable condition is pervasive and wrong. And there's data proving it.
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How to Prevent Cravings?

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on August 08, 2016 in Science of Choice
A key lesson of behavioral economics is the power of the context that shapes behavior and overrides individuals’ intentions.

Diagnosing Compulsive Sexual Behavior

By Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, Brian L. Odlaug, PhD, MPH, and Samuel R. Chamberlain, MD, PhD on August 08, 2016 in Why Can't I Stop?
Is compulsive sexual behavior a new disorder?

Many Commonly Used Drugs Are Useless

By Allen J Frances M.D. on August 07, 2016 in Saving Normal
Drug company marketing muscle can turn useless meds into financial blockbusters.

Pokemon, No? Putting Down Our Phones to Meet the Real World

Technology is a powerful tool for communication, and yet the way we are using it is making it into a powerful impediment to our sense of awareness.
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Four Reasons to Be Wary of Supplements

Supplements can be beneficial if they are quality products that are prescribed by those who are trained in their proper use.
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Four Things You Should Know About Adolescent Anxiety

By Richard Taite on August 05, 2016 in Ending Addiction for Good
Recognizing a mental health condition in your child can trigger your own worst fears, making you wonder if the condition is somehow your fault.
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Why "Eroticized Rage" Is a Nonsense Concept

By Michael Aaron, Ph.D. on August 05, 2016 in Standard Deviations
'Eroticized rage' is a popular concept in sex addiction circles, but it is merely biased sex-negative moralism disguised as psychoanalytic jargon.

Compulsive Sexual Behavior

By Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, Brian L. Odlaug, PhD, MPH, and Samuel R. Chamberlain, MD, PhD on August 05, 2016 in Why Can't I Stop?
Why should we be concerned about compulsive sexual behavior? Pornography, which is just one part of compulsive sexual behavior, is a huge business, and as such, it is here to stay.

Depression and Drugs in Paradise: A Famous Island Suffers

By Seth Meyers Psy.D. on August 03, 2016 in Insight Is 20/20
When people think of Martha's Vineyard, they may think of celebrities and presidents who vacation there. The reality: the island suffers from a heroin problem, among others.