Symptoms of Addiction
Recurrent use of a substance or activity leading to impairment or distress is the sine qua non of an addictive disorder. The diagnosis is based on the presence of at least two of a number of features:
- The substance or activity is used in larger amounts or for a longer period of time than was intended.
- There is a desire to cut down on use or unsuccessful efforts to do so.
- Pursuit of the substance or activity or recovery from its use consumes a significant amount of time.
- There is a craving or strong desire to use the substance or activity.
- Use of the substance or activity disrupts role obligations at work, school, or home.
- Use of the substance or activity continues despite the social or interpersonal problems it causes.
- Participation in important social, work, or recreational activities drops or stops.
- Use occurs in situations where it is physically risky.
- Use continues despite knowing it is causing or exacerbating physical or psychological problems.
- Tolerance occurs, indicated either by need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve the desired effect or markedly diminished effect of the same amount of substance.
- Withdrawal occurs, manifest either in the presence of physiological withdrawal symptoms or the taking of a related substance to block them.
The severity of the condition is gauged by the number of symptoms present. The presence of two to three symptoms generally indicates a mild condition; four to five symptoms indicate a moderate disorder. When six or more symptoms are present, the condition is considered severe.