What is an addiction?

What is an addiction?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, Addiction is a brain disease that is expressed by compulsive substance use. An individual suffering from an addiction has an urge on using a certain substance(s), such as drugs or alcohol. There are many reasons why people begin to abuse a substance(s), including: feeling pleasure, relieving stress, improving performance, curiosity and peer pressure. Some individuals are able to identify that they have a problem, while others will be in denial; however, they are unable to stop the addiction. If the following criteria are met there is a possibility of an addiction problem: not caring for the consequences, craving the substance, having compulsive use, and loss of control over the amount.

Physical Signs of Addiction

  • Dilated pupils
  • Red eyes
  • Weight loss, changes in eating habits

Behavioral Signs of Addiction

  • Isolating
  • Financial problems
  • Sleeping problems

Emotional Signs of Addiction

  • Defensive
  • Unable to deal with stress
  • Denial
  • Blaming others
  • Loss of interest in what they used to enjoy

If you or anyone you know is struggling with an addiction and live in the Chicagoland area, feel free to call Olive Branch Counseling Associates at (708) 633-8000 and talk to a professional.


Graduate Intern


(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction

Image: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/myth-or-fact-addiction-choice

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