The term addiction does not only refer to dependence on substances such as heroin or cocaine. A person who cannot stop taking a particular drug or chemical has a substance dependence.
Some addictions also involve an inability to stop partaking in activities, such as gambling, eating, or working. In these circumstances, a person has a behavioral addiction.
Addiction is a chronic disease that can also result from taking medications. The overuse of prescribed opioid painkillers, for example, causes 115 deaths every day in the United States.
When a person experiences addiction, they cannot control how they use a substance or partake in an activity, and they become dependent on it to cope with daily life.
Every year, addiction to alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription opioids costs the U.S. economy upward of $740 billion in treatment costs, lost work, and the effects of crime.
Most people start using a drug or first engage in an activity voluntarily. However, addiction can take over and reduce self-control.