by Jake Colton

Addiction – Dictionary Definition

1: being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs)
2: an abnormally strong craving
3: (psych) a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.

Addiction – Drugs and Alcohol

Addiction to drugs or alcohol are often referred to as a “hard” addiction and include a physiological and biological dependence on drugs or alcohol. The physical dependence component is defined by tolerance (needing an increased amount over time to achieve the same effect) and physical withdrawal symptoms (which are often difficult to distinguish between emotional and psychological effects of withdrawal that may or may not have a biological root).

Addiction – Sex

Sexual addiction is a psychological condition in which an individual has a severe struggle in managing his or her sexual behavior. Therapists have not reached any consensus regarding whether sexual addiction exists or, if it does, how to describe the phenomenon. Some therapists believe that sexual addiction is literally an addiction, directly analogous to alcohol and drug addictions. Other therapists believe that sexual addiction is actually a form of obsessive compulsive disorder and refer to it as sexual compulsivity. Still other experts believe that sex addiction is itself a myth, a by-product of cultural and other influences.

“Soft” Addictions

Addictions that don’t typically involve a physiological and biological basis are often referred to as “soft” addictions. Virtually a person can be psychologically and emotionally addicted to anything. Of course, the label “soft” can be misleading and sometimes even offensive to those struggling with obsessive thoughts, behaviors, and pain associated with addiction. “Soft” like getting hit in the face with a softball. Common addictions include:

  • Addiction to food
  • Gambling addiction
  • Addiction to work
  • Video Game addiction
  • Internet addiction
  • Shopping addiction
  • Addiction to television

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