You suffer from an addiction if you tick at least 2 criteria out of the following 11

The diagnosis of addiction (or dependence) is based on well-defined criteria, set by international mental health authorities and listed in a manual, the Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental disorders (DSM). Among these criteria, we find the loss of self-control, the interference of consumption on school or professional activities, or the continuation of consumption despite the awareness of the disorders it generates.

The most widespread addictions concern tobacco (nicotine) and alcohol. Next come cannabis and, far behind, opiates (heroin, morphine), cocaine, amphetamines and synthetic derivatives. There are also addictions linked to activities (and not to substances), such as gambling, video games, sex or even compulsive shopping.

More or less addictive substances often tested in adolescence

Addictions can occur at any time of life, but the period of 15 to 25 years is the most conducive to their emergence. The risky behavior of adolescents and young adults facilitates the first experiences, and the early use of drugs exposes to an increased risk of the appearance of an addiction later. Overall, men are more often affected by addictions than women.

Some substances seem to have a higher addictive power than others given the proportion of dependent people among their consumers. The most addictive product would be tobacco (32% of consumers are addicted), followed by heroin (23%), cocaine (17%) and alcohol (15%). The speed at which addiction develops also varies depending on the substance. Addictions to tobacco, heroin and cocaine can develop within weeks, while addiction to alcohol is much slower.

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Among video games, those on the network are reputed to be the most addictive, particularly multi-player role-playing games. The addictive power of gambling has not been evaluated.

The infernal cycle of games of chance and money

Most pathological gamblers are men, in their forties, often fathers. They practice games of pure chance (roulette, slot machines) or games combining chance and strategy (sports betting, poker, blackjack). The starting point of their pathology is always an initial gain that generates a very positive emotion and encourages them to play again to relive this “magical” moment. Then gambling and winning quickly become a way of feeling good. But successive losses encourage the player to tirelessly retry his luck in the hope of “recovering”, by increasing the bets as the losses increase. The reasonings become erroneous and go against the laws of probability that players generally know well. It usually takes several years from the start of the game until the addiction is formed.

The percentage of “pathological” gamblers in the general population is estimated at 1%.

Do you suffer from an addiction? Take the test.

A subject is considered to be suffering from an addiction when he presents or has presented, during the last 12 months, at least two of the following eleven criteria:

1) Strong and irrepressible urge to use the substance or gamble

2) Loss of control over the amount and time spent taking substances or gambling

3) A lot of time spent seeking substances or gambling

4) Increased tolerance to the addictive product

5) Presence of a withdrawal syndrome, i.e. all the symptoms caused by the sudden cessation of consumption or gambling

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6) Inability to fulfill important obligations

7) Use even when there is a physical risk

8) Personal or social problems

9) Desire or persistent efforts to decrease doses or activity

10) Activities reduced in favor of drinking or gambling

11) Continued use despite physical or psychological damage

The addiction is qualified as weak if 2 to 3 criteria are satisfied, moderate for 4 to 5 criteria and severe for 6 criteria and more.


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