A primary, chronic, neurobiological disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestation. Addiction is characterized by behaviors that include:

  • Impaired control over drug use
  • Compulsive use
  • Continued use despite harm
  • Cravings

When referring to someone with an addiction, refrain from using “addict” and instead use “person with substance use disorder”. Please refer to the Grayken Center for Addiction at BMC for more information and resources on how to reduce stigma through the words we use.


The Recovery Research Institute based out of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School