“Addicted” refers to the state of being compelled to use a habit-forming drug, substance or to perform an activity even when you have tried to quit or have the desire to quit. Being addicted is the state of being psychologically or physically dependent on a substance such as alcohol or drugs, an activity such as sex or gambling or a lifestyle, such as ecstasy clubbing. However, physicians do not use the term “addicted” when they diagnose and treat mental conditions, but rather the terms “substance abuse” and “substance dependency”. The exception to this is The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), an organization of physicians specializing in helping people with substance abuse disorders, which does use the term “addicted”.
Substance abuse disorders refer to psychological dependencies on certain drugs or alcohol that need treatment, but do not necessarily involve a physical dependency that produces withdrawal symptoms when the patient stops using. Substance dependency is a more severe condition in which the person will experience physical withdrawal symptoms and has developed a physical tolerance for the substance and needs more to achieve the same high. Some drugs, such as LSD and certain inhalants, do not produce withdrawal symptoms if the person quits.