The Four Cs of Addiction

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Addiction is a disease, one of many neurobiological disorders characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences to the brain, body, and other aspects of the individual’s life.


To separate addiction from other nerurobiological disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, auditory processing disorder, and anxiety disorders, many experts say that four factors must be present. These four factors are unique to addiction and can be characterized by the so-called four Cs of addiction:

  1. Compulsion: Using is an absolute must. The addict feels an overpowering urge to use. While use may be impulsive at the earliest stages of addiction, use/abuse of substances will soon become compulsive–that is, not performing the behavior will cause agonizing anxiety and impair all other activities.

  2. Craving: The urge to use feels like a physical need, like hunger, and is just as demanding. “Craving” in the context of addiction is not much different from craving water when you’re thirsty. The drug has become associated with a vital, life-giving action, even though it’s the absolute opposite.

  3. Consequences: The person in question continues to use/abuse substances even though there are negative consequences as a result of their use of drugs. “Negative consequences” are naturally tied to each person’s circumstances, but we all agree that car accidents, blackouts, DWI/DUI, ER visits, work trouble, increased conflict and a whole boatload of other bad outcomes come with addiction.

  4. Control: Control over when, how, or if the person uses a substance vanishes. If the individual plans to only have two beers a day, but drinks a six pack a day all week, we have a problem! Often in early addiction, the individual does have an understanding they’re heading for severe difficulty and will attempt to reduce or eliminate their drug abuse on their own. If they fail, their addiction will veer out of control.  Success is unlikely without professional help and support.


This 4 Cs of addiction model is a quick way to identify if someone has an addiction, and even individuals or family members can use this on their loved ones.

So how many Cs does it take for a person to be declared as addicted?

ONE. Just one.

If you or your loved one has any of the following factors and you believe that he or she is addicted, we’re here to help. Contact us through

Text 0917-509-8826 or Call 622-0193

You can be sure that your case is confidential and we will do everything we can to get your loved one the help he or she needs.

One thought on “The Four Cs of Addiction

    […] wonders, “Do I have an addiction?” “I think I am becoming addicted,” “I am losing control,” and “Do I need to get help?” listen to it. More often than not, our conscience […]


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