What is Addiction?

    Through the years the process of defining what the term addiction means has been a challenge to professionals and recovering people alike. There is still no single definition accepted by all. According to one scientific source, addiction is “A brain disorder characterized by the loss of control of drug-taking behavior, despite adverse health, social, or legal consequences to continued drug use. 1” Another definition is “An illness in which a person seeks and consumes a substance, such as alcohol, tobacco or a drug, despite the fact that it causes harm. 2” Finally, according to Narcotics Anonymous, the 12-step self-help support group for individuals who wish to no longer use drugs, the addict is “Very simply, an addict is a man or woman whose life is controlled by drugs. We are people in the grip of a continuing and progressive illness whose ends are always the same: jails, institutions and death. 3” While these three definitions vary somewhat from each other, the following common threads appear. Addiction is a disease or illness, the consequences of which severely threaten life and happiness.

    1. David Friedman, PhD, and Sue Rusche, Harwood Academic Publishers, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1999.

    2. The Mayo Clinic Glossary

    3. Page 3, Basic Text, 5th Edition

    Copyright (c) 1978, NA World Services, Inc.

    Reality Check
    For more information on methamphetamine, inhalants and addiction in Bucks County, call the AIM program at 1-215-345-6644.

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