Addicts are individuals who are physically and/or psychologically dependent on a particular activity or substance. Although the term "addict" is often used in reference to people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, it also applies to people who are addicted to a number of other activities such as sex, gambling, the Internet, video games, eating, porn, religiosity, and love.


Addicts: Typical and Observable Characteristics

According to addiction researchers and experts, addicts, similar to addictions, display common, observable characteristics. The following list represents some of the more identifiable characterizes of addicts:

  • They have definite preferences for one activity or substance over another and for how they use the substance or activity of abuse.

  • They are susceptible to the risk of relapse no matter how successfully they are treated.

  • They tend to be risk takers and thrill seekers and expect to have a positive reaction to the substance or activity before it is used or begun.

  • They have problems with self-regulation, impulse control, and self-monitoring.

  • They don't search for an "escape" as much as they seek ways to manage their lives.

  • When dealing with stress, anxiety, and with their everyday lives, they have a tendency to engage in certain activities or to use various substances as substitutes for more appropriate and healthy coping strategies.

  • They have particular vulnerabilities or susceptibilities.

  • They search for opportunities that result in involvement with a substance or activity to which they will become addicted.

  • They tend to have higher-than-normal capability for certain activities or substances. For example, alcoholics have been observed to drink their friends "under the table" and still look as if they are relatively "normal" after drinking enough alcohol that probably would severely impair the functioning and the health of other people.


Addicts Can Be Dependent Physically and/or Psychologically

Addicts can be physically and/ore psychologically "hooked" on various activities or substances. Physical dependence is typified by the appearance of distinctive withdrawal symptoms when the substance or the activity is suddenly discontinued. Examples include sweating, vomiting, and "the shakes."

Psychological addiction is a dependency of the mind that leads to emotional withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, cravings, irritability, depression, and insomnia if the activity or substance is suddenly discontinued.

Conclusion: Addicts

An addict is someone who has a strong compulsion or dependency to a substance or activity. This compulsion can be psychological and/or physical and can lead to a number of damaging, dangerous, and unhealthy consequences if the addict is not treated.

Addicts manifest identifiable and predictable "characteristics" that can serve as addiction "warning signs."