The american society of addiction medicine
defines addiction as a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory
and related circuitry.
Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in the individual pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. The addiction is characterized by impairment in behavioral control, craving, inability to consistently abstain, and diminished recognition of significant problems with oneâ€™s behaviors and interpersonal relationships. Like other chronic diseases, addiction can involve cycles of relapse and remission.
To the extent there is compulsive attraction to the behavior in spite of identified harms, or inability to control the activity especially when faced with the opportunity, these are characteristics of a reward-reenforced behavior that is an adaptation to something that may have been pleasurable at one point, and now the behavior repeats itself based on associating the activity with pleasure.