Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Defining Addiction

I am no longer keeping this post up top, but feel free to post your definitions.

I am keeping this post on top for the time being. Look for new posts under this one... But please, seriously, feel totally free to give me definitions for addiction. Don't think about it, just bust out with the first thought that comes into your head when you read the word "Addiction."

If you had only one, maybe two sentences, how would you define addiction?

Language largely defines our reality. Unfortunately, I am finding that a cohesive, consistent clinical definition for addiction is awfully hard to come by. It is becoming easy to understand why addiction is such a pervasive and destructive force in our society. We can't even come to a consensus about what the actual problem is.

So please, let me know what you think. Leave it in comments or email me. I want to know what you think. It is mostly for my paper, but it will also become the subject of a blogpost.

Also, considering carefully a variety of contexts, is your reaction to the word "addiction" uniformly negative?

I should also mention that you'll get my undying gratitude if you decide to post the question at your own blog, assuming you have one. If you want to post it for me, let me know by email. I have a standardized post for the blogs of others and will list your blog in this post. The more responses I get the better.


JLK said...

Oh what the hell, I'll start. And then I can get railed for oversimplifying.

I would say that addiction is the persistent, difficult to control need for something or to do something.

This definition encompasses the physical and psychological need without specifying either or both. It does not require that the person pursues the need to the detriment of their life or that of others (which we determined in previous posts is not a necessary requirement).

I am addicted to cigarettes, but do not suffer nicotine withdrawals when I quit. It's the habit - the fact that it's part of my daily routine - that makes it extremely difficult to stop smoking.

I am also addicted to books. I have had to stop bringing my wallet into Barnes and Noble, only bringing enough cash to purchase whatever it is I went there to buy. I can't even go to the library without checking out the maximum titles.

The definition above applies equally to both of these things.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Oversimplifying is actually what I'm shooting for, so thanks. There is a purpose to asking this, that will be apparent when I get a chance to write a solid post about it. It will probably be a couple weeks before I do so though, I am shooting for getting as many responses as possible.

I'm trying to get some other bloggers to post this question. A couple of rather high traffic blogs are probably going to post it (one for sure). I have spring break coming up, so I plan on writing about this then.

leigh said...

continuing drug use and drug-seeking despite adverse consequences. resultant of mass compensatory neurochemical and neurostructural adaptations in dopaminergic (reward) and CRF (stress) system due to presence of said drug.

sorry... by being in the field, i totally blew that "personal definition" thing, didn't i? ;)

PhizzleDizzle said...

Here's my concise definition:

The inability to control the satisfaction of a desire, regardless of long-term consequences with respect to the self, or to friends, and loved ones. Basically, a totally uncontrollable compulsion despite logical understanding of negative consequences.