Catholic Dictionary




The state of being physically dependent on something, generally alcohol or drugs, but it can be any material object or experience. Addiction means increased tolerance, but also greater difficulty in withdrawal. In fact, the fear of withdrawal symptoms is the main obstacle even in persons who are convinced on moral grounds that they should overcome an addiction. The study of addiction has contributed to a major development in Catholic moral theology, through a better understanding of subjective guilt and a more effective pastoral care of persons with bad moral habits. (Etym. Latin addicere, to give one's consent to a thing.)