What Are The Six Major Characteristics Of Addictive Behavior?

What are the six major characteristics of addictive behavior? Salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, conflict, and relapse.

Doctor video call online by modish telemedicine software application for virtual meeting with patient

Addiction is a condition that affects a person in many different ways. While there are numerous characteristics of addictive behavior, there are six that are the most dominant. These include salience, mood modification, toleration, withdrawal symptoms, conflict, and relapse. Today, we take a quick look at each of these so that we can gain a better understanding of addictive behaviors.


Salience is a word that you might hear during online substance abuse counseling in Michigan. It’s a term that simply means the degree to which substance use dominates an individual’s thoughts, behaviors, actions, and feelings. People who are addicted to a substance, such as opiates, place a significant amount of importance on obtaining their drug of choice. This unhealthy preoccupation often takes precedence over other activities, including work, family, and relationships.

Mood Modification

Many people in online substance abuse counseling discuss how their addiction changes their behavior and mood. The use of substances can produce pleasurable and euphoric experiences that those in the midst of addiction want to replicate. However, over time, the substance can become a replacement for healthy coping mechanisms and can lead to reliance on the substance to help people manage their mood.


Tolerance simply means that an individual requires a higher/stronger dose of a substance to achieve the same effect. It is a key characteristic of addiction that’s addressed when an individual goes into online substance abuse counseling in Michigan.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are the physical and psychological effects that occur when someone stops using a substance their brain and body have become dependent on. Withdrawal symptoms might include anxiety, nausea, pain, agitation, and more. People with addictive personalities may turn back toward their drug of choice or others to help assuage these symptoms.


Conflict happens when an individual who is addicted to a drug faces adverse reactions associated with their substance use. People in online substance abuse counseling often discuss the damaging effects of their addiction to their employment, their relationships, and their overall well-being. However, they admit that, despite the consequences, they would often turn to their substances, which usually leads to a decline in mental and physical health.


Relapse is a hot topic in online substance abuse counseling and refers to resuming the use of a drug after being clean. Unfortunately, relapse happens because of the many challenges people often face like stress, social pressure, and environmental cues. Each of these can increase the likelihood of a relapse and further push a person down the path of addiction.

While addiction may look different from one person to the next, the six components listed above are common in people with addictions of all kinds. Fortunately, treatment can help, and online substance abuse counseling in Michigan is readily available for those who are ready to be available to the possibilities of change.

Aegis Medical offers online opioid addiction treatment for those suffering from addiction. When you choose Aegis Medical, you can use your own pharmacy, benefit from our board-certified expertise, and receive treatment from anywhere from a judgment-free practitioner whose sole purpose is to help you walk your recovery journey with confidence. Dr. Peter Farago is licensed throughout the US and Canada and is a member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine, and the American Board of Preventive Medicine. Aegis Medical is also HIPAA Verified and accepts most insurance plans.