General English


  • noun a state of physiological or psychological dependence on a potentially harmful drug

Health Economics

  • (written as Addiction)
    Economists have not always modelled the use of addictive substances in terms of the four common attributes of addictiveness: persistence, tolerance, withdrawal and reinforcement. In health economics they have modelled addiction in broadly three ways. The first is in 'imperfectly rational ' models in which individuals effectively have two mutually incompatible but each internally consistent utility functions (for example, a farsighted one and a shortsighted one). Second, there are 'myopic irrational' models, in which future consequences are not well-understood or, if understood, are heavily discounted or ignored. Finally, there is ' rational addiction ', in which the addictive habit enhances both current and future utility sufficiently to overcome the (rationally perceived) negative consequences for the user.


  • noun physical or psychological dependence on a harmful substance