Compulsive dependence on the use of narcotic drugs.Drug addiction is characterized not merely by persistent use of a drug, but by (a) an inner compulsion or overpowering urge to use it; (b) a tendency to increase the dose due to increasing tolerance; and (c) both physiological and psychological dependence on its effects. Addiction should be distinguished (although sometimes it is not) from habituation. In habituation there is persistent use and desire for a drug because of its psychological effects, but the elements of compulsion and physical dependence are lacking, and there is little or no tendency to increase the dosage.The problem of drug addiction today centers around the opiates (opium and its derivatives, morphine, heroin, pare -VARIOUS TYPES OF TESTS AND APPARATUS 8. The Crawford Small Parts Dexterity Test, used in assessing ability to perform jobs requiring manual dexterity.Which version is artistically superior? One of many items on the Meier Art Judgment Test. Brain wave (electroencephalograph) tracings from selected lobes of the cerebral cortex. See BRAIN WAVES, EPILEPSY (Symptoms and Types).The problem of drug addiction is a conspicuous one in the United States because of its relationship to crime and mental health, and because it involves so many of our young people. The rate of addiction has actually dropped materially since the beginning of this century when opiates were used in many patent medicines sold without prescription. Nevertheless there are now about 100,000 addicts in this country and the number does not appear to be decreasing. Males outnumber females by four to one, and the great majority come from the lower socioeconomic levels, although the number from the upper levels appears to be on the rise, as in the “hippie” movement. Psychoses associated with addiction account for about 1 per cent of first admissions to mental hospitals each year.Narcotic addiction rarely starts after the age of fifty. The most vulnerable group in our population are high school dropouts and young adults, especially in crowded, decaying urban areas where drugs of various kinds are readily available and their use is tolerated or even approved. There is usually a history of delinquency prior to the use of drugs, and criminal behavior generally continues after addiction. Addicts rarely commit violent crimes and do not fall into the standard pattern of professional criminals, since they usually steal, prostitute themselves, or peddle narcotics only for the purpose of maintaining their drug supply. A few habitual criminals, however, use cocaine or other drugs to reinforce themselves before committing offenses.Psychologically speaking, the largest group of addicts consists of immature, inadequate individuals with “passive-aggressive” personalities. Generally they come from families in which the father is weak and shiftless or totally absent, and the mother is a tense, unhappy person who resents her children and tends to frustrate, dominate, or overprotect them. These people are often lured into taking their first dose as a result of a dare, or out of defiance, curiosity, desire for adventure, or pressure to conform to the group mores.

Cite this page: Nugent, Pam M.S., "DRUG ADDICTION," in PsychologyDictionary.org, November 28, 2018, https://psychologydictionary.org/drug-addiction/ (accessed January 20, 2019).