Reading Comprehension - Definition and Types of Addiction

Develop your reading skills. Read the following text and do the comprehension questions

Definition of addiction

addictionAddiction can be defined as a brain disorder identified by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite unfavorable consequences. Two factors determine any type of addiction. These are the psychological and biological processes involved in the addictive behavior. The biological process is induced by repeated exposure to an addictive stimulus and is the core pathology that drives the development and maintenance of an addiction. At the psychological level, the cognitive control, and particularly inhibitory control over behavior, is impaired in addiction.

Addiction mechanism

Two properties are involved in all addictive stimuli. They are reinforcing and intrinsically rewarding. Addictive stimuli are reinforcing because they increase the likelihood that a person will seek repeated exposure to them. They are also intrinsically rewarding since they are perceived as being inherently positive, desirable, and pleasurable. The pleasure felt by addiction leads to a particularly powerful increase of dopamine. The latter is a neurotransmitter that sends signals to nerve cells in the brain. Addictive behavior provides a shortcut to the brain's reward system by flooding the brain with dopamine. This mechanism increases the likelihood of craving for the object of addiction and losing complete control over its use.


As described by two groups of researchers, addiction causes an "astoundingly high financial and human toll" on individuals and society as a whole through the direct adverse effects of drugs, associated healthcare costs, long-term complications, the functional consequences of altered neural plasticity in the brain, and the consequent loss of productivity. Classic hallmarks of addiction include impaired control over substances or behavior, preoccupation with substance or behavior, and continued use despite consequences. Habits and patterns associated with addiction are typically characterized by immediate gratification (short-term reward), coupled with delayed deleterious effects (long-term costs).

Types of addiction

Examples of drug and behavioral addictions include alcoholism, amphetamine addiction, cocaine addiction, nicotine addiction, opiate addiction, food addiction, gambling addiction, computer addiction, and sexual addiction.


In order to be effective, all pharmacological or biologically (i.e. medication) based treatments for addiction need to be integrated into other established forms of addiction rehabilitation, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and individual and group psychotherapy. Research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and a community reinforcement approach were effective interventions with moderate effect sizes. Evidence also indicates that consistent aerobic exercise, especially endurance exercise such as marathon running, actually prevents the development of certain drug addictions

Source: Wikipedia


  1. Addiction is caused by mainly psychological factors.
    a. True
    b. False
  2. Pleasurable experience increases the likelihood of repeated exposure to addictive behavior.
    a. True
    b. False
  3. Seeking addictive substances is the only form of addiction.
    a. True
    b. False
  4. The treatment of addiction involves mainly medication.
    a. True
    b. False

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