Characteristics of Addictive Behaviours

  • Created by: bayleyc
  • Created on: 20-12-16 20:20


This is when the addictive behaviour becomes the most important thing in the addicts life. Their thoughts, feelings and behaviour are dominated by it. Even when they are not engaged in the behaviour they will be thinking about it. 

1 of 6

Mood Modification

This is when the individual's mood changes when they engage in the behaviour. This behaviour often increases their mood and this is described as a 'high' or a buzz'. Alternatively, it can give the individual a feeling of escape of numbness. It can also change at different times. This can be seen in those that are addicted to smoking who use smoking for a boost in the morning but as a way of relaxing in the evening. The addiction is used as a way of coping with their problems.

2 of 6


The longer the individual is addicted to the behaviour the more they will need to get the same 'buzz' they initially got. This is because their tolerance has been built up over time so much more of the behaviour is required. Tolerance is mainly linked to chemical addictions such as drugs but there have been instances where behaviours like gambling have been applicable. 

3 of 6

Withdrawal Symptoms

If the individual stops engaging in the behaviour then they may experience feelings of withdrawal. These can be physical symptoms like insomnia and headaches or psychological like moodiness and irritability. These are also more likely to be linked to chemical addictions but absence of behavoural addictions can produce the same withdrawals.

4 of 6


Individuals with an addiction can often find that they experience conflict with friends, family or even themselves. Conflict with friends and family is called interpersonal conflict, and can cause the individual to compromise their relationships or job just so they can engage in the addictive behaviour. Conflict with themselves is known as intrasychic conflict. The addict may know that they need or want to stop being addicted but they can struggle to stop. 

5 of 6


Many addicts experience the strong urge to return to their addictive behaviour. This can happen even after a long period of time of not engaging with the period at all or after they have undergone treatment that seemed successful initially. This is commonly seen in addictions such as smoking where individuals who have quit for a long period of time start to smoke again after a stressful experience. 

6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Addictive behaviour resources »