Writing as Addiction (draft)
From covariance of addictions by Sam Haylett
of PROMIS -
The criteria for substance dependence are the presence of at least three of the following;
These criteria also apply for behaviour addiction.
Donegan et al (1983) proposed some more general features of addiction,
- Tolerance develops, indicated by (a) larger does of
the substance being needed to produce the desired effect, and (b) the effects of the drug becoming markedly less if only the usual amount is
- Withdrawal symptoms develop when the person stops taking the substance or reduces the amount. The person may also use the
substance to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- The person uses more of the substance or uses it for a longer time than intended.
The person recognizes excessive use of the substance, may have tried to reduce it but has been unable to do so.
- Much of the person's time is
spent in efforts to obtain the substance or recover from its effects.
- Substance use continues despite psychological or physical problems
caused or made worse by the drug.
Many of the activities (work, recreation, socializing) are given up or reduced in frequency because of
the use of the substance.
Writing can become an addictive behaviour. Like those who become
addicted to exercise, some writers exhibit guilt if they don't write
daily, and are prone to cross-addiction. Because writing encourages
isolation, is cheap, and is encouraged as a form of therapy from other
addictions, it attracts addicts.
- "Affective contrast, this is where the substance or behaviour
tends to produce an initial affective state (euphoria) which is then followed by an opposing state (dysphoria)"
- "Ability of various states (general arousal, stress, pain) to influence substance or behavioural use."
Updated in September, 2000