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Definition - What does Addict mean?

An addict is someone who suffers from a chronic condition known as addiction. Addiction is most often associated with drug abuse. However, an individual may become addicted to alcohol or other substances or even certain behaviors. Drug addicts can become dependent on either illegal and/or prescription drugs. Sometimes, an individual may suffer from more than one addiction.

SureHire explains Addict

An addict is prisoner to their biological and physiological need for a substance. Addiction is caused by the brain's response to exposure to the addicting substance or behavior. A reward chemical released in the brain by the source of the addiction triggers a cycle of craving and satisfaction. Once a person's brain develops a neurochemical dependency on a drug or other source of reward, the change is considered permanent. The individual may undergo treatment to limit his or her response to the addiction but is always at risk for a relapse.

It is believed that genetic disposition plays a significant role in who is most likely to become an addict. Other factors such as exposure to addictive substances, and social and cultural influences also play a role.

An addict may suffer from physical and behavioral symptoms of his or her addiction. For example, an addict may have difficulty focusing, learning new skills, making decisions and controlling his or her impulses.

In the United States, someone who has been diagnosed with an addiction may be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This protection prohibits employers from discriminating against the individual when making hiring decisions for reasons based solely on his or her status as an addict. The ADA does not require employers to hire individuals who are continue to engage in addictive behaviors or who cannot safely perform the expected job duties.

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