The single most important feature in establishing a diagnosis of addiction (psychological dependence) to a medication is:
a) Evidence of continued use despite harm
b) Pain complaints outside the norm
c) Physical dependence
There is much discussion and debate over definitions of physical and psychological
dependence in the addiction literature. However, at its core, psychological dependence
requires evidence of behavioral impact including use despite harm and loss of control.
These features are distinct from drug withdrawal (physical dependence) or drug
tolerance (the need to use increasing doses to achieve the same therapeutic effect).
See Fast Fact #68 Pain vs. Addiction