In medical terminology, addiction is a state in which the body relies on a substance for normal functioning and develops physical dependence. When this substance is suddenly removed, it will cause withdrawal, a characteristic set of signs and symptoms. Addiction is generally associated with increased drug tolerance. In medical terms, addiction is not necessarily associated with substance abuse since addiction can result from using medicine as prescribed by a doctor.
However, common usuage of the term addiction has spread to include a wider range of meanings, including ones asociated with psychological dependence. It is used to describe a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful consequences to the individual's health, mental state or social life. The term is often reserved for substance abuse problems or drug addictions but it is sometimes applied to other compulsions, such as problem gambling, and computer addiction. Factors that have been suggested as causes of addiction include genetic, biological/pharmacological, spiritual and social factors.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia