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Addiction and ChoiceRethinking the relationship$
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Nick Heather and Gabriel Segal

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727224

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727224.001.0001

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On defining addiction

On defining addiction

Chapter:
(p.3) Chapter 1 On defining addiction
Source:
Addiction and Choice
Author(s):

Nick Heather

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727224.003.0001

The chapter discusses issues that arise in the attempt to define addiction and, in doing so, reviews major positions in the literature on the essential nature of addiction and how it shows itself. A specific but tentative recommendation as to how it should most usefully be defined is developed: “a person is addicted to a specified behavior if they have demonstrated repeated and continuing failures to refrain from or radically reduce the behavior despite prior resolutions to do so or if they would have demonstrated such failures under different personal or environmental circumstances.” This definition can be applied as a ‘litmus test” to distinguish between activities that can reasonably be called addictions and those that cannot. It is also argued to be a foundation for an emerging theory of addictive behavior as a disorder of choice based on a dual process account of human behavior.

Keywords:   addiction, definition, disorder of choice, dual process, resolution, behavior

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