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Genetics of Disease
ad·dic·tion (ə-dĭk'shən) n.
Compulsive physiological and psychological need for a habit-forming substance: a drug used in the treatment of heroin addiction.
An instance of this: a person with multiple chemical addictions.
The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or or involved in something.
An instance of this: had an addiction for fast cars.
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Addiction is a dependence on a behavior or sub-stance that a person is powerless to stop. The term has been partially replaced by the word dependence for substance abuse. Addiction has been extended, however, to include mood-altering behaviors or activities. Some researchers speak of two types of addictions: substance addictions (for example, alcoholism, drug abuse, and smoking); and process addictions (for example, gambling, spending, shopping, eating, and sexual activity). There is a growing recognition that many addicts, such as polydrug abusers, are addicted to more than one sub-stance or process.
Addiction is one of the most costly public health problems in the United States. It is a progressive syndrome, which means that it increases in severity over time unless it is treated. Substance abuse is characterized by frequent relapse, or return to the abused substance. Substance abusers often make repeated attempts to quit before they are successful.
In 1995 the economic cost of substance abuse in the United States exceeded $414 billion, with health care costs attributed to substance abuse estimated at more than $114 billion.
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