Addiction is described as "a curable, chronic medical disorder involving intricate interactions among brain circuits, heredity, the environment, and an individual's life experiences" by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Addiction Sociology Definition


Addiction is described as “a curable, chronic medical disorder involving intricate interactions among brain circuits, heredity, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences” by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

An addiction is a persistent dysfunction of the brain’s reward, motivation, and memory systems. It has to do with how your body needs a drug or habit, especially if it leads to an obsessional or compulsive desire for the “reward” and a lack of regard for the repercussions.

A neuropsychological disease called addiction is defined by an overwhelming desire to use drugs despite obvious risks and other unfavorable effects.


Addiction is defined as the uncontrollable use of a drug or the performance of a behavior.

The phrase “behavioral addiction” describes a drive to participate in a behavior that is naturally rewarding or one that is essentially attractive or appealing, notwithstanding unfavorable outcomes.

Addiction is viewed in the sociology of addiction as an interacting process characterized by progression through several phases in a career of deviance.

David Slight’s research suggests that addicts don’t keep using drugs out of anxiety about going cold turkey but rather out of a need for “some type of satisfaction or pleasure or relief from a condition of mental discomfort or difficulty of life.”

Alfred Lindesmith worked with Herbert Blumer at the University of Chicago to undertake the initial sociological studies that were exclusively focused on addiction. According to Lindesmith, patients who received opiates in a hospital setting were less likely to develop dependent usage habits than those who obtained heroin off the street. He did so by arguing that although both hospital and street users feel physiological withdrawal symptoms when they stop using, only street users are mindful that their lack of access to heroin causes their distress.

According to Lindesmith, drug users who take medications intentionally to ease withdrawal develop true drug addictions. Sociologists found this theory appealing because it argued that the symbolic meanings that users of drugs discovered in their experiences were crucial components of the addiction process.

The most important contribution Lindesmith made to the sociology of addiction was when he used George Herbert Mead’s focus on the significance of key symbols in the building of the self to explain how one becomes an addict.

Robert K. Merton proposed that persistent alcoholics and drug users may serve as examples of the retreatist adaptation, one of his five modes of adjustment in which social actors adopt abnormal patterns of behavior, in his seminal article “Social Structure and Anomie.” According to Merton, an addict is someone who accepts the legitimacy of both cultural ideals and the institutionalized methods society provides for obtaining those goals but is unable to achieve the intended outcomes using these methods. This failure causes a “retreat into defeatism, quietism, and resignation” from social activity.

Most of today’s sociological studies on drugs and alcohol concentrate on issues related to the many social issues that result from substance use per se or social regulations put in place to regulate substance use.


Alcoholism, marijuana , amphetamine, video game, cocaine, nicotine, opioid,  gambling, and pornography, are a few examples of substance and behavioral addictions.

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