The word addiction derives from the Latin word addictere,
to be bound or enslaved to another. In addiction the individual
is no longer master of his fate or captain of his destiny, for he
lives and breathes, plots and schemes, and carries on all of his
affairs under the thumb of his evil genius, his addiction.
Addictions are customarily divided into (a) substance addictions
such as alcohol and other drugs, and (b) process addictions such
as compulsive sex, gambling, eating, working or other activities.
Addiction is correctly understood, not from the characteristics
of the substance or process in question, but from the manner in
which the individual relates to such substances or processes.
Characteristics of the addictive relationship include:
- salience or exaggerated importance, in which the target of
the addiction 'trumps everything' in the addict's life, even at
times life itself
- rigidity, persistence, inflexibility and imperviousness to
corrective feedback such as painful adverse consequences past,
present and anticipated, as well as the negative opinions of peers
- the invocation of a distinctive mutually reinforcing network
of psychological defenses, including denial, rationalization,
minimization, projection &etc., which function together like
a well-designed system of military forts and defenses to protect
- the incorporation of the addiction into a system of mood and
value-regulation upon which the identity, meaning and reason for
existence of the addict are progressively grounded
By their fruits ye shall know them. And the fruits of addiction
are always bitter and inimical to the life and well-being of the
individual: shame, fear, guilt, secrecy, depression, remorse, loss
of relationships, and vocational, legal and health consequences
are common results of the more serious addictions. And in all too
many instances the final fruit of addiction is death itself.
While the particular characteristics of the substance or process
involved exert effects that must be recognized and reckoned with,
it is the structural process of addiction just described
which isolates and undermines the psyche and frequently the soma(body)
of the addict.
Compulsive gambling is a well-recognized addictive process that
may exist alone or in the presence of other active process or substance
addictions, as well as of other psychiatric disturbances such as
offers the following questions to anyone who may have a gambling
problem. These questions are provided to help the individual decide
if he or she is a compulsive gambler and wants to stop gambling.
- Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling?
- Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
- Did gambling affect your reputation?
- Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
- Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or solve
- Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
- After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible
and win back your losses?
- After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more?
- Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone?
- Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
- Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling?
- Were you reluctant to use "gambling money" for normal expenditures?
- Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your
- Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
- Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
- Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal
act to finance gambling?
- Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
- Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you
an urge to gamble?
- Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few
hours of gambling?
- Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result
of your gambling?
Most compulsive gamblers will answer yes to at least seven
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