Süchtigkeit, Rauschgiftsucht, krankhaftes Verlangen nach einem Rauschmittel, verbunden mit einer abnormen seel. u. körperl. Abhängigkeit vom Suchtmittel u. der Notwendigkeit, die Dosis ständig zu steigern.
Krankhafte körperl. und seel. Abhängigkeit von Rauschgiften, Alkohol, Nikotin, Medikamenten.
ETYM Cf. Latin addictio an adjudging.
State of dependence caused by habitual use of drugs, alcohol, or other substances. It is characterized by uncontrolled craving, tolerance, and symptoms of withdrawal when access is denied. Habitual use produces changes in body chemistry and treatment must be geared to a gradual reduction in dosage.
Initially, only opium and its derivatives (morphine, heroin, codeine) were recognized as addictive, but many other drugs, whether therapeutic (for example, tranquilizers) or recreational (such as cocaine and alcohol), are now known to be addictive.
Research points to a genetic predisposition to addiction; environment and psychological makeup are other factors. Although physical addiction always has a psychological element, not all psychological dependence is accompanied by physical dependence. A carefully controlled withdrawal program can reverse the chemical changes of habituation. Cure is difficult because of the many other factors contributing to addiction.
1. An abnormally strong craving.
2. Being abnormally dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs); SYN. dependence, dependency.