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Addictions have been around as long as excessive behaviors or habits have existed From the minute that communication conscious thought and walking upright defined our species we have probably had workaholic hunters obsessive or compulsive gatherers overeating cavemen and tobacco or drug abusers Physicians judges the clergy addicts their families and the general public throughout history have been challenged by the task of defining the word addiction Likewise professional people in fields such as medicine psychiatry and psychology define addiction in terms that are appropriate to their areas of concern For example for the purpose of providing recovery Narcotics Anonymous defines addiction treating as a disease because this makes sense to them and it eventually works for them as well Depending on the definition and its purpose the word addiction would emphasize things as physiological dependence psychological dependence family dynamics behavioral problems and morality among others Addiction is a term that has been used in many ways but if we search the notion of addiction we will find definitions that emphasize the habitual and chronic use of chemical substances that alter physical or mental states Comptons Encyclopedia Online 1998 Consequently we can think that compulsive habits such as surfing the Internet watching certain television shows every night working long hours or biting ones fingernails represent addictive behaviors Although the word habit is intimately connected to the word addiction the terms addict and habit which entered the English language many centuries ago have distinctively meanings Addict is a term that has its origin in Roman Law and it referred to a person who was formally made over or bound to another attached by restraint or obligation Comptons Encyclopedia Online 1998 On the other hand habit originally referred to the way in which a person held or exhibited himself as in his manner of dress Comptons Encyclopedia Online 1998 This original meaning of habit has been retained in the expressions nuns habit or riding habit
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