News FocusADDICTION

'Behavioral' Addictions: Do They Exist?

Science  02 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5544, pp. 980-982
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5544.980

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Summary

Scientists have traditionally confined their use of the term addiction to substances that clearly foster physical dependence. That's changing, however. New knowledge suggests that, as far as the brain is concerned, a reward's a reward, regardless of whether it comes from a chemical or an experience. And where there's a reward--as in gambling, eating, sex, or shopping--there's the risk of getting trapped in a compulsion.