- Compulsive use of the substance despite negative health and social consequences
- Tolerance - over time, progressively greater amounts of the substance are needed to reach and maintain the “high”
- Withdrawal symptoms (link toxic hunger) when the substance is discontinued
- Activation of reward pathways (including the dopamine system) in the brain
References1Taylor VH, Curtis CM, Davis C: The obesity epidemic: the role of addiction. CMAJ 2010;182:327-328.
2Small DM, Jones-Gotman M, Dagher A: Feeding-induced dopamine release in dorsal striatum correlates with meal pleasantness ratings in healthy human volunteers. Neuroimage 2003;19:1709-1715.