March 1995

Addictions can differ

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Question: I hear people say that they are addicted to things. What exactly is an addiction? Is there such a thing as an ``addictive personality''?

Answer: Addiction is a word that means many things to many people. Addiction refers to the behavior in which there is an overriding concern with the acquisition and use of some substance. The three main addicting factors include the urge to use (compulsion), an inability to control one's use (lack of control) and continuing to use the substance in spite of the consequences.