A. Tom Horvath, Ph.D., ABPP, Kaushik Misra, Ph.D., Amy K. Epner, Ph.D., and Galen Morgan Cooper, Ph.D. , edited by C. E. Zupanick, Psy.D.
Drug addiction is a broad term that describes significant problems with drug use. It is not a diagnostic term recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. Nonetheless, it a commonly used term that generally includes an impaired ability to limit drug use, despite the harmful consequences of continued use. In this respect, alcoholism meets the definition of addiction. In our topic center on addiction, addiction is defined as:
Addiction is the repeated involvement with a substance or activity, despite the substantial harm it now causes, because that involvement was (and may continue to be) pleasurable and/or valuable.
Therefore, drug addiction is a specific type of addiction. In the article entitled, What is drug addiction? we listed the many harmful consequences of drug use that meet this definition of addiction. You might like to review that list of consequences for an informal self-assessment to determine if you might have a drug addiction. In the next section, we discuss the formal way that healthcare professionals determine whether someone has an addiction to drugs.