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Symptoms and Diagnosis


Dr. Jerman
Heavy use of a substance or excessive engagement in an activity does not always indicate addiction. Mr. Willis, can you tell us what the symptoms of addiction are?

Mr. Willis
Absolutely, Dr. Jerman. The symptoms of addiction are generally grouped into four categories, including:

  • Impaired self-control
  • Social problems
  • Risky use, and
  • Drug effects

Impaired self-control refers to the craving or strong urge to use the substance or engage in the activity, as well as an inability to cut back or discontinue the addictive behavior, despite the best intentions to do so.

Social problems describe the way an addiction to a substance or activity interferes with work, school, or home life. An addiction can make it difficult or impossible for a person to complete major tasks. It may also cause the individual to cut back on or give up work or leisure activities altogether.

Risky use refers to continued involvement with the substance or activity despite knowing that it's potentially dangerous or harmful. Risky use can also refer to using a substance or engaging in an activity in unsafe settings or circumstances.

Tolerance and withdrawal are two terms used to describe the effects of alcohol, drugs, and other behavioral addictions, such as gambling. Tolerance means that the individual requires progressively larger amounts of the substance or behavior to achieve the desired effect. Withdrawal symptoms are different for each substance and behavior, but they are typically defined as the body's adverse response to the sudden absence of the addictive substance or activity.