Addiction refers to a condition in which a person has difficulty abstaining from a habitual behavior even when recognizing that it causes problematic consequences for the addict and other people. Alternative terms commonly used are dependency syndrome (of alcohol), pathological behavior (gambling), or disorder (sexuality, eating). Addiction is often considered to occur frequently in consumer societies where possibilities for excess are easily available.

Etymology and History

The original Latin words addicere (verb) and addictionem (noun) were legal terms that referred to sentencing someone to be a bond slave. In modern English, the term was commonly used to designate either a positive or a negative devotion to a belief or an activity. In the early nineteenth century, it gained a strongly negative meaning, first as excessive attachment ...

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