Addiction/Addictive Personality (Encyclopedia of Psychology)
A wide spectrum of complex behaviors that ranges from patterns of behavior to physical addiction.
Addiction has come to refer to a wide and complex range of behaviors. In addition to familiar addictions, such as alcohol dependence, drug dependence, and smoking, addictive behavior has also been associated with food, exercise, work, and even relationships with others (codependency). Some experts describe the spectrum of behaviors designated as addictive in terms of five interrelated concepts: patterns, habits, compulsions, impulse control disorders, and physical addiction. Compulsions differ from patterns and habits in that they originate for the purpose of relieving anxiety. Impulse control disorders, such as overeating, constitute a specific type of compulsive behavior that provides short-term gratification but is harmful in the long run. In contrast to these various types of potentially addictive behavior, physical addiction involves dependence on a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and well-defined physiological withdrawal symptoms.
In spite of the variety of activities that can be considered addictive, people who engage in them tend to have certain attitudes and types of behavior in common. An addiction is generally associated with relieving anxiety or blocking out other types of uncomfortable feelings. To a...
(The entire section is 1209 words.)
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