The reader should not confuse this definition of addiction with other related terms. Although similar, this definition of addiction should not be confused with the diagnostic criteria for a category of disorders known as addictive and substance-related disorders (APA, 201). We will compare and contrast other terms later in this chapter.
Drug addiction is more common in some families and is likely to involve a higher risk depending on genes. Addiction can happen to anyone of any origin, social status, race, or gender.
It speaks to the power of addiction that when a person is knocked down by an alcohol or substance abuse disorder, their core identity is lost, subsumed or consumed, and replaced by another identity, that of an addict. The addicted individual reconstructs an identity that serves and meets all the demands and needs of addiction.
Addiction is a chronic, treatable medical illness that involves complex interactions between brain circuits, genetics, the environment and a person's life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.