Using a practical definition, addiction is characterized by the repeated, compulsive seeking or use of a substance, behavior, or activity to reach euphoric states in the brain, despite negative consequences (harmful consequences to the individual's health, mental state or social life).

Addiction is often accompanied by physical or psychological dependence, withdrawal syndrome and tolerance. The more one uses the addiction of choice; obsession and preoccupation for that addiction increase.

Generally, there are six common indicators of all addictions:

1. The Object of Desire. There is always an object of desire (which creates the ‘high‘) -- the substance, thing, activity, or relationship that drives the addiction; that sparks obsessive thoughts and drives compulsive behavior.

2. Preoccupation. There's an ongoing obsession with the drug or choice/object of desire; a reliance and dependence that drives the addiction.

3. Compulsive Behaviors. There is a compulsion to satisfy the urges and cravings; to keep the ‘high‘ going; and satisfy the obsession that drives the addict's behavior.

4. Lack of Control. When there is addiction, there is a lack of control over thoughts, compulsions, or behaviors when it comes to the object of desire. This is apparent when addicts try to stop or cut back on a chosen addiction-- it is the hallmark and a central defining feature of addiction and dependence.

5. Dependence. There is a dependence on the object of desire, physical or psychological, or both; so only that one thing can satisfy the desire and fulfill (at least temporarily) the addict.

6. Negative Consequences. Inevitably, addiction is always accompanied by negative, destructive consequences.
(*Staying Sober: A Guide for Relapse Prevention." Independence, MO: Herald House/Independence Press. Rich, P., & Copans, S. A. (2000).)

*these six indicators are noticeably observed in love-addicted patterns.

Examples of why addicts use their drug of choice:

*Escape emotional pain
*Attempt to feel self worth
*Attempt to fill an internal emptiness
*Escape reality
*Escape boredom
*Escape loneliness
*Relieve anxiety
*Feel connected; s sense
of having purpose
*Feel a sense of self/purpose
Coping mechanism

Initially, a person is drawn to an addiction because of the way it affects his or her emotions; that is, the euphoric, exhilarated, ecstatic feelings; or the ‗high‘, or escape from life‘s realities. When a person becomes ‘hooked’ or dependent on euphoric feelings associated with something outside (substance or behavior) - an addiction occurs.

Numerous studies clearly prove that addiction is strongly associated with the brain's reward- ‘feel good’ system. When the object of desire stimulates the nuero-circuits and chemistry of the brain— your brain is forced to adapt to the chosen addiction (i.e., alcohol, drugs) that is continually relied upon.

For addicts, an addiction can act as a lubricant to cope with missing or unfulfilled needs, which arise from unpleasant events or situations in one‘s life (past or present)-- temporarily allowing the addict to disregard, "forget", deny, or repress problems, emotions, and often times, stuff away carried shame from childhood experiences.

Until the last several decades, it was assumed that people could only get addicted to mood altering substances, which had to be snorted, swallowed, smoked, or shot in the body with a needle.

Since then, numerous studies have been conducted to explore the relationship between thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and brain chemistry. It is now known that people can and do become addicted not only to substances put into one‘s body— but to mood altering activities and behaviors which create almost identical euphoric states to that of mood altering substances— these are called Process Addictions.

Discovering you’re a love addict is not an easy thing to acknowledge or accept- no problem we’re faced with is always easy to accept at firs.

In most of us, the word ‘addict’ often invokes shameful feelings based on the cultural stigma in society that addicts are bad or somehow flawed people—this is not the fact. Millions of people have faced the disease of addiction. Acknowledge the fact that addiction is NOT who you are… it is a serious problem you have—a problem you CAN overcome if you choose.

Denial is a powerful force in addiction. If you’re first discovering you are a love addict- it’s important to start the process to break your denial of love addiction.

Where to start? Start with learning all you can about this love addiction and begin taking the appropriate steps to set you on a pathway of a solid and healthy recovery.

Author's Bio: 

Jim Hall, M.S., is a Love Addiction Specialist and founder of a popular recovery website,, a cutting-edge site for the love addict who want to recover and heal.

He is an Author on Love Addiction and Recovering. He also coaches Love Addicts how to recover, heal, and break their addiction to relationships, online at

Jim authors several popular Books on love addiction and recovery, available on one of the best love addiction recovery websites- Or click on the links to learn about the books:

- Surviving Withdrawal: The Breakup Workbook for Love Addicts.

- The Love Addict in Love Addiction

- Gateway to Recovery

Jim is currently completing a Love Addiction Rehab Recovery Program series for love and relationship addiction which will soon be available on Also on his website are free articles, tips, and other related information on love addiction, recovery and relationship issues: