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

Forget Willpower: A Smarter Strategy to Resist Temptation

Just in time for the Holidays, with the endless parade of treats and snacks, a positive and appropriate method to fight temptation.

Chronic Pain and the Risk of Suicide

By Judy Foreman on November 24, 2015 A Nation in Pain
Chronic pain significantly increases the danger.

Three Ways to Manage Worry This Thanksgiving

Whatever the reason, millions of us have to deal with worry during the holidays. Here are three easy things ways to manage your worries.

Six Ways to Maintain Your Sobriety at Thanksgiving

Here are some helpful tips for having a happy Thanksgiving celebration while remaining drug/alcohol free.

The Void Social Media Fills

The average American spends 7.6 hours a month on social media. Social media sites enable people to connect with each other no matter on which continent or in which time zone they reside. Although it allows people to stay in touch with loved ones around the world, can social media become an addiction?

Why Exercise Isn't Always a Panacea

Just because some exercise is great for us doesn’t mean these benefits extend indefinitely. It turns out that yes, you can exercise too much: Beyond a certain point of exertion, our bodies—and our minds—start to break down.

My Husband Is an Ineffective Father

"I can't take it anymore. I want to walk away."

Why I Am No Longer a Sex-Addiction Therapist

Our evolving understanding of the complexities of human sexuality have revealed an increasing number of cracks in the foundational models of sex-addiction therapy.

The #BrightFriday Challenge

By Eva Ritvo M.D. on November 21, 2015 On Vitality
Did you know that Black Friday is bad for your brain? Based on neuroscience, we've got the perfect way to turn Black Friday into Bright Friday.

Why We’re Addicted to Our Smartphones, But Not Our Tablets

As mobile technology has become integrated into nearly every aspect of our lives, our smartphones are shifting from device to dependency.

Lifting the Covers: Sex with the Undercover Police

Has reporting over-simplified the predicament of undercover agents and their relationships?

5 Key Elements Of Sustainable Change

If you want to know whether someone will stick to a given goal (resolution) you will need to know how specific/realistic the goal, about his motivation, his level of confidence, and the strength of his willpower.

Gambling Advertising And Marketing

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 In Excess
Over the last few years there has been a great deal of speculation over the role of advertising as a possible stimulus to increased gambling, and as a contributor to problem gambling (including underage gambling). But can gambling advertising and marketing be done in a more socially responsible way?

Treatment Is Essential to Fight US Heroin, Opioid Epidemic

National and local governments alike have discussed rethinking opioid prescribing practices and preventing misuse. While these efforts are proposed with good intentions, it is essential that they also incorporate access to medically managed detoxification and comprehensive addiction treatment.

Signs of Overdependence on the Internet and Social Media

The Internet provides a constant, ever-changing source of information and entertainment.

Truth about HIV Transmission among Addicts and Alcoholics

I should be desensitized to this by now, witnessing firsthand the wreckage that comes with drug addiction and alcoholism, but I’m not. I wish I was, but I am not.

You Can Beat Your Shopping Habit

By Temma Ehrenfeld on November 18, 2015 Open Gently
Resist the urge to buy stuff.

Understanding Addiction With Electronic Registries

We want rigorous science that can guide treatment in substance abuse, but Randomized Clinical Trials (RCTs) are very expensive. Can we uber-fy clinical trials to make research, implementation and quality assessment a seamless process?

How Athletes Can Address the Psychology of Injury

By Laura M Miele Ph.D. on November 17, 2015 The Whole Athlete
What we can learn from Lamar Odom.

How to Stop Kids From Binge Drinking

By Temma Ehrenfeld on November 17, 2015 Open Gently
We can use our success in reducing cigarette smoking as a model to cut down binge drinking.

Even Sober, I Was the World’s Worst Employee

By Anna David on November 17, 2015 After Party Chat
I used to talk back to my bosses and screw up important tasks. Then I got sober and into recovery—but my behavior didn't.

Why It's Great to Ask 'What If' (Except When It Isn't)

Imagining how we could act can be simultaneously terrifying and liberating

Why Your Brain Wanted Coffee and Donuts This Morning

By Gary L. Wenk Ph. D. on November 14, 2015 Your Brain on Food
If coffee and donuts did not exist, our brains would force us to invent them.

Addicts and Non-Addicts: The New Odd Couple

By Amy Dresner on November 13, 2015 Coming Clean
Want a reality check about your addiction? Date outside the recovery circle.

Ambivalence in Addiction

The Latin word "addictum" once described the length of time an indentured slave had to serve. The person who served that sentence was the "addict." The etymology means “bound to”—just as many of us are hopelessly bound to our screens.

Are You an Achievement-Addicted Person?

There is nothing wrong with the desire to achieve, but if it interferes with other aspects of our lives, we may be "achievement-addicted" and need some balance. So what is achievement-addiction?

Can Bargain Hunting Be Addictive?

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on November 11, 2015 In Excess
A growing number of articles in the print media have claimed that bargain hunting can be addictive for a small minority. But what does the scientific literature say and isn't this just another form of 'shopaholism'?

What's Wrong with Treating the "Disease" of Addiction?

By Marc Lewis Ph.D. on November 11, 2015 Addicted Brains
Elsewhere I talk about the flawed science behind the disease model of addiction. Here I'm interested in the net effect it's had on addiction treatment. Addicts need empowerment and self-direction in order to change. But the medicalization of addiction turns them into patients: obedient, passive, and powerless.

5 Easy Tools to Resist the Urge of Bad Habits

By Rubin Khoddam on November 10, 2015 The Addiction Connection
Substance use treatment isn't always about one's drug of choice, but it's about behavior change. And here are 5 simple tools to help us learn ways of facilitate the behavior change.

Why Are So Many American Youth Abusing Adderall?

By Allen J Frances M.D. on November 08, 2015 Saving Normal
ADHD meds are the most dangerous legal drugs among young people in college and high school.