Background Image

What Is Addiction? Drug Abuse Information and Treatment Help

Addiction is defined as a chronic, yet treatable medical disease that is characterized by the repeated, uncontrollable use of substances. When a person has an addiction, they continue using alcohol, medications, or illicit drugs regardless of the consequences.
Call 888-744-0069
Helpline Information

What Are the Different Types of Addictions?

Addiction is most commonly associated with substance use disorders (SUDs), which involve the compulsive and problematic use of substances like drugs and alcohol. These fall under the larger class of substance-related disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed. (DSM-5).3,13

The DSM-5 separates substance-related addictions into 10 classes of drugs and provides diagnostic criteria that medical professionals use to determine appropriate care plans. The following SUDs are defined in the DSM-5: 3,13

  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Cannabis
  • Phencyclidine and other hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • Opioids
  • Sedatives, hypnotics, or anxiolytics
  • Stimulants
  • Tobacco
  • Other considerations

When it comes to non-substance-related addictions, there continues to be discussion in the scientific community about whether or not other behaviors should be formally classified as addictions or impulse control disorders.2

Currently, the DSM-5 only classifies pathological gambling as a non-substance-related disorder, or behavioral addiction. However, there are other repetitive and compulsive behaviors, such as sex, exercising, and shopping, that are outlined in a chapter of the DSM-5 titled “Conditions for Further Study.”3

man taking a xanax pill