Millions of us make use of psychoactive—or mind-altering—drugs. Such drugs, both legal and otherwise, can cause pleasure or pain (or both). So, too, can sex, gambling, shopping, dieting, exercise, and Internet use. ‘Addiction’ or ‘dependence’ on substances like alcohol, tobacco, illicit and prescribed drugs, and on other risky behaviours, is strongly associated with a broad range of personal and social consequences. They can greatly enhance life—or ruin it. The heavy and chronic use of legal and illegal drugs, as well as other compulsive or problematic behaviours, are associated with massive health and social problems. Health problems related to addiction include dependence, injury, overdose, foetal damage, cancers, liver disease, and premature mortality, while social problems include crime and disorder, debt, family violence, poverty, and industrial inefficiency.
The editors have collected material under the following sections and, together with their newly written introduction, this Routledge Major Work, a new title in the Major Themes in Health and Social Welfare series, will enable users to make sense of the wide range of approaches, theories, and concepts that have informed the subject to date:
• concepts of addiction
• illicit drugs
• other addictive behaviours such as compulsive gambling, sex, exercise, shopping, Internet use and dieting.
Edited by two of the world’s leading authorities on addiction and risky behaviours, Addiction will be welcomed by professionals and policymakers in health and social services. It will also be an invaluable reference resource for students and scholars working in the field of addiction, as well as those whose courses in a wide range of allied disciplines—such as nursing, medicine, psychology, education, social work, and law—increasingly require an understanding of the issues this collection explores.