What Are The Hallmarks of Addiction?



In this Big Think Dr. Carl Hart answers two questions:

1. Question: How do you define addiction?

2. Question: How do you identify an addict early on?

There are multiple ways to define addiction of course but in medicine, when we think about when people come to, for health care.  We think of addiction in terms of the DSM term.  The DSM is the Diagnostic in Statistical Manual.  It is produced by the American Psychiatric Association and in that book; it has a clear definition of what addiction is.  Addiction typically, we think of it as people may exhibit tolerance to a substance they may go through withdrawal when they don’t have the substance.  They may spend increasing amount of time engage in the behavior to obtain or use the substance they may have had unsuccessful, number unsuccessful attempts to cut down their use of the substance.  They may use despite the fact that they are having psychological or physical problems.  These are sort of hallmarks of addiction.

You may be more likely to be addicted to a substance because of the conditions you are experiencing, for example: if you don’t have a job, you don’t have any responsibilities, or if you have greater access to a particular substance than you normally would have, the likelihood of somewhat becoming addicted increases.

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Writing & Interviews