The definition of addiction is explored. Elements of addiction derived from a literature search that uncovered 52 studies include: (a) engagement in the behavior to achieve appetitive effects, (b) preoccupation with the behavior, (c) temporary satiation, (d) loss of control, and (e) suffering negative consequences. Differences from compulsions are suggested. While there is some debate on what is intended by the elements of addictive behavior, we conclude that these five constituents provide a reasonable understanding of what is intended by the concept. Conceptual challenges for future research are mentioned.
Keywords: addiction; definition.