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What Is an Addiction?

An addiction is defined as compulsive behavior or substance use due to a chronic brain disorder that involves the processes of reward, motivation, and memory. As such, addictions occur when, after repeated use or activity, your body experiences intense cravings that a particular substance or activity alone can satisfy, causing a compulsive or obsessive pursuit of satisfying those cravings regardless of any adverse consequences that pursuit causes.

While there are many substances that an individual can become addicted to, including alcohol, opioids, nicotine, inhalants, or various drugs, there are also various behaviors or activities that an individual can become addicted to, which can include any of the following:

  • Gambling
  • Sex
  • Shopping
  • Use of the internet or social media
  • Video games
  • Working