Health

The best Rx for teens addicted to vaping? No one knows

The nation's top health authorities agree: Teen vaping is an epidemic that now affects some 3.6 million underage users of Juul and other e-cigarettes. But no one seems to know the best way to help teenagers who may be addicted ...

Medications

Fears over life-saving drug unfounded, finds review

Fears over a drug that can be used to treat alcohol addiction are unfounded, according to its first ever systematic review, led by academics at The University of Manchester.

Psychology & Psychiatry

Excessive social media use is comparable to drug addiction

Bad decision-making is a trait oftentimes associated with drug addicts and pathological gamblers, but what about people who excessively use social media? New research from Michigan State University shows a connection between ...

Medications

Opioids fueled a doubling of suicides and overdoses in the US

Suicides and drug overdoses kill American adults at twice the rate today as they did just 17 years ago, and opioids are a key contributor to that rise, according to a new review and analysis by a University of Michigan team.

Medications

Opioid crisis roadmap overlooks gender

Women's Health Research at Yale (WHRY) is calling on a government committee to revise its report on a coordinated response to the opioid epidemic so that it reflects the unique needs of women.

Neuroscience

Brain scans predict stimulant drug relapse

Predicting who will remain drug-free and who will relapse following treatment for drug addiction has been impossible – so far. Now, Stanford psychologists think they've found a possible clue. For stimulants like cocaine ...

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Addiction

The term "addiction" is used in many contexts to describe an obsession, compulsion, or excessive psychological dependence, such as: drug addiction (e.g. alcoholism), video game addiction, crime, money, work addiction, compulsive overeating, problem gambling, computer addiction, nicotine addiction, pornography addiction, etc.

In medical terminology, an addiction is a chronic neurobiologic disorder that has genetic, psychosocial, and environmental dimensions and is characterized by one of the following: the continued use of a substance despite its detrimental effects, impaired control over the use of a drug (compulsive behavior), and preocupation with a drug's use for non-therapeutic purposes (i.e. craving the drug). Addiction is often accompanied the presence of deviant behaviors (for instance stealing money and forging prescriptions) that are used to obtain a drug.

Tolerance to a drug and physical dependence are not defining characteristics of addiction, although they typically accompany addiction to certain drugs. Tolerance is a pharmacologic phenomenon where the dose of a medication needs to be continually increase in order to maintain its desired effects. For instance, individuals with severe chronic pain taking opiate medications (like morphine) will need to continually increase the dose in order to maintain the drug's analgesic (pain-relieving) effects. Physical dependence is also a pharmacologic property and means that if a certain drug is abruptly discontinued, an individual will experience certain characteristic withdrawal signs and symptoms. Many drugs used for therapeutic purposes produce withdrawal symptoms when abruptly stopped, for instance oral steroids, certain antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and opiates.

However, common usage of the term addiction has spread to include psychological dependence. In this context, the term is used in drug addiction and substance abuse problems, but also refers to behaviors that are not generally recognized by the medical community as problems of addiction, such as compulsive overeating.

The term addiction is also sometimes applied to compulsions that are not substance-related, such as problem gambling and computer addiction. In these kinds of common usages, the term addiction is used to describe a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful consequences, as deemed by the user himself to his or her individual health, mental state or social life.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA