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text definition of addiction

Identifying Addiction

MentalHealth.net’s definition of addiction is 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.

There are four key parts to this definition of addiction:

  1. Addiction includes both substances (e.g. drugs, alcohol) and activities (e.g. sex, gambling).
  2. Addiction leads to substantial harm.
  3. Addiction is repeated involvement despite substantial harm.
  4. Addiction continues because it was, or is, pleasurable and/or valuable.

How do I know if I have an addiction?

According to Psychology Today, there are 6 signs and symptoms that can help you determine if you (or a loved one) are experiencing addiction:

  1. Importance: how important has it become to your sense of self and the way you live your life? You can determine importance not only by how much you’re doing it, but also by how much you’re not doing other things.
  2. Reward response: does doing it make you feel better and more in control? Does not doing it make you feel worse?
  3. Prevalence: do you find yourself doing it more often and for longer periods of time than you originally planned?
  4. Cessation: do you feel anxious or uncomfortable if you cannot do it or if you just think about not doing it?
  5. Disruption: has doing it disrupted your life and your relationships?
  6. Reverting: do you often say to yourself you’re going to do something different but then turn around and keep doing the same thing – or doing it even more?

If these signs and symptoms describe you or your loved one, this may be an addiction that is negatively impacting your/their quality of life. It may be time to seek assistance from a professional. Yorktown’s highly trained clinical staff are available to provide mental health and addictions counselling for youth at the West Toronto Youth Hub and the Infant, Child, Youth and Family Mental Health Centre.

Here are some additional resources that can help:

Ontario Resources

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Mental Health, Info/Tips
November 15, 2018
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