What is Addiction?
Addiction is a primary, chronic disease, characterized by impaired control over the use of a psychoactive substance(s) and/or behaviour. Clinically, the manifestations occur along biological, psychological, sociological and spiritual dimensions. Common features are change in mood, relief from negative emotions, provision of pleasure, pre-occupation with the use of substance(s) or ritualistic behaviour(s); and continued use of the substance(s) and/or engagement in behaviour(s) despite adverse physical, psychological and/or social consequences. Like other chronic diseases, it can be progressive, relapsing and fatal.
-Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine
"Drug Addiction is a brain disease that develops over time as a result of the initially voluntary behavior of using drugs. The consequence is virtually uncontrollable compulsive drug craving, seeking, and use that interferes with, if not destroys, an individual's functioning in the family and in society. Both developing and recovering from addiction depend on biology, behavior, and social context, and demands formal treatment."
-Dr. Alan I. Leshner, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 2001