In modern medical practice two kinds of addictions are singled out. And it is pretty important to differentiate between these two kinds of addiction.
The first one is physiological (or physical) dependence, and the other one is psychological addiction (which in most cases is called simply addiction). Physical dependence is caused by some sort of substance, like tobacco, or alcohol. And there are also certain withdrawal symptoms which will appear as long as the effect of the substance that caused the addiction is stopped. Nicotine, and all the so-called hard drugs, cause physical dependency. All these substances lead to changes in a human body and it can't function properly without that substance, any more. And with some of these substances, like in case of alcohol dependency, withdrawal can even be fatal for the person.
Psychological addiction, on the other hand, does not have such withdrawal symptoms, as the physical dependence does, but it also can be destructive to the person's life. As long as such addiction is only a certain behavior pattern, it can easily be formed by any sort of activity that is pleasant for the person. A widely known example of that kind of addiction is pathological gambling. And lately, we can see a new kind of psychological addiction more often, and it is called internet addiction disorder.
And for both psychological addiction and physical dependency, people
always try to find a suitable explanation (excuse). These are called models of addiction. There are many different addiction models that are in wide use today, like medical or social models.
Social models are usually used to explaining away their psychological addictions like pathological gambling. Of all the social models of addiction there are two that are the most well-known. The first one is called the moral model. The main idea is that addiction is caused by some sort of defect or weakness in the character of a person. So, according to this model, there is no medical or biological reason of addiction. Another popular part of social models is the cultural model. The main idea of this model is that all addictions are caused by the individuals surrounding culture. For example, in places where access to gambling or alcohol is limited, the rate of corresponding addictions is much lower than in other cultures.
But the main problem of all social models, or similar models, is that they suppose that there are no biological reasons for addiction. From that point of view, addiction is not a disease, so such models simply cannot offer an effective method of treatment. They only state that addiction is a problem but they do not say how to treat it.
Luckily, there are also different medical models that accept the fact that addiction can be considered a disease and it needs special treatment methods with the use of medications, if necessary. And there are many different methods and techniques of treatment for physical dependencies and psychological addiction. Special centers where these methods are applied are numerous today. And not only is the number of these centers growing, but new kinds of centers for new addictions appear today, too.