mental health, therapy, counseling and psychology terms glossary


An Addiction is defined as a psychological and/or physical inability to stop consuming a substance or performing an activity despite the fact that it is causing psychological and/or physical damage. Addictions occur because the initially pleasurable activity maps certain brain pathways to demand more. The brain’s rewiring causes impaired judgment and poor behavior control lending to the individual’s uncontrollable urges to partake despite the negative consequences.

Addictions can consume the thought patterns of an individual making it difficult to focus and perform during everyday tasks – even when not using. Relationships tend to suffer and the individual may not even realize that the habit has grown out of control. 

In addition to alcohol and drugs, many behaviors are highly addictive. These addictive behaviors include sex, gambling, shopping, eating, exercising, working, and being online. Gambling Disorder is the only officially recognized behavioral addiction by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) but all forms of addiction can be helped with therapy and support.

Would you like to discuss treatment options for Addiction?