The term “addiction” can mean many things to many people. For our purposes we define addiction as follows: Addiction is the repeated involvement with a substance or activity, despite the substantial harm it now causes, because that involvement was (and may continue to be) pleasurable and/or valuable.

There are four key parts to this definition of addiction:

1. Addiction includes both substances and activities (such as sex and gambling).

2. Addiction leads to substantial harm.

3. Addiction is repeated involvement despite substantial harm.

4. Addiction continues because it was, or is, pleasurable and/or valuable.