Addiction – Definition & Meaning

Addiction is a term that is used to describe a compulsive and repetitive behavior that is difficult to control despite its negative consequences. It is a complex condition that affects both the brain and behavior of an individual. Addiction can manifest in various forms such as substance abuse, gambling, internet addiction, and others.


Addiction can be defined as a state of being physically or mentally dependent on a particular substance or behavior. It is characterized by a compulsive need to engage in the activity or consume the substance, even when it causes harm to the individual. Addiction is also described as a chronic disease that affects the reward and motivation systems of the brain.


The term addiction originated from the Latin word “addictus,” which means “bound to” or “enslaved by.” It was initially used in the legal system to describe individuals who were bound to a creditor for their debts. The term later evolved to refer to individuals who were enslaved by their compulsive behaviors.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, addiction is defined as “a compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines addiction as “the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.”


Addiction is often associated with negative consequences such as health problems, financial difficulties, and social isolation. It is also linked to mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Addiction can affect individuals of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.


Some synonyms of addiction include dependency, compulsion, craving, obsession, and habituation.


Antonyms of addiction include abstinence, moderation, and self-control.

The same root words

The same root words as addiction include addict, addictive, and addictedness.

Example Sentences

  1. His addiction to alcohol caused him to lose his job and his family.
  2. She was addicted to gambling and spent all her savings on it.
  3. The internet addiction had a negative impact on his academic performance.
  4. He was able to overcome his addiction to smoking through therapy and support groups.
  5. Her addiction to shopping led to her accumulating massive debts.
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