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Though the very obvious opposite of the word addiction is "deaddiction", I couldn't find the latter in any dictionary (I checked in Oxford, Chambers and Cambridge). Why is it so?

If "deaddiction" is not the real antonym, then please suggest another.

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Then where did you find it? –  Barrie England Jun 24 '12 at 15:09
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It's not the very obvious opposite coz it's the first time I heard this word –  Cool Elf Jun 24 '12 at 15:12
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Then the reason you haven't found it in the standard dictionaries is that they would require documentary evidence of its existence. In any case, 'deaddiction' sounds like the process of becoming no longer addicted, rather than the opposite of addiction, for which I very much doubt if there is any word at all. –  Barrie England Jun 24 '12 at 15:16
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Dead diction? Is that how they speak Latin these days? –  Matt Эллен Jun 25 '12 at 9:05
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Shouldn't that be "de-diction", rather than "de-addiction" –  Urbycoz Jun 25 '12 at 9:30

8 Answers 8

up vote 15 down vote accepted

The problem with asking for an antonym is that most words have more than one nuance or meaning, so antonyms can branch off into more than one direction – and sometimes even several.

In the case of addiction, I can think of at least two senses of the word:

There's addiction as a chemical, biological, or psychological dependency, usually regarded as detrimental to one's well-being (e.g., drug addiction, sex addiction, gambling addiction).

Then there's addiction used in a less scientific way, where it describes more of a rabid obsession than a true dependency (as in, addicted to fishing, golf, or romance novels).

The NOAD describes it like this:

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So, as for antonyms: when talking about the latter usage, we might try words like:

indifference, apathy, disinterest

Bob is addicted to bowling, but his wife Mary is indifferent about it.

My daughter had a Pokemon addiction in grade school, but she finally grew out of it, and feels only apathy now.

But when we are talking about the former usage – such as someone's bout with alcoholism, or struggle to quit smoking – words like disinterest and dispassion don't work very well as antonyms. I'm more inclined to suggest words like:

independence, autonomy, freedom

Paul has been free from his nicotine addiction for six years now.

I thought Mary had finally gained independence from her alcoholism, but it seems like she can't stay on the wagon.

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Your ansewers are always perfect. +1 –  user19148 Jun 24 '12 at 19:36

You're probably referring to the term used with a hyphen: "de-addiction." You can easily find this one in the dictionary.

Without the punctuation, it's a bit tricky to read and recognize.

This is a specific term used in health and substance-withdrawal fields.

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"Addiction" as a Noun has its usual antonym in the words "Aversion" and "Repellence/ Repellency." –  Cool Elf Jun 24 '12 at 15:27

Various comments and answers have already stated the majority of this, but I think a complete answer needs to have it all:

Basically, a word can have many antonyms, depending on which definition - or which part of the definition - one intends to negate.

When "addiction" refers to the process of becoming addicted to something, the antonym would indeed be de-addiction - the process of becoming no longer addicted.

"Addiction" also often refers to an uncontrollable desire for something. We can negate this one way by using aversion or revulsion (although those are more directly antonyms to attraction) - an uncontrollable desire to avoid something.

We can negate this another way by using indifference or something similar - the lack of any particular desire for something.

When "addiction" refers specifically to the inability to not use a substance, possible antonyms are independence or freedom. (I think the former is particularly good here, because drug addiction is commonly called chemical dependence.)

Finally, one can always use non- to make an ad-hoc antonym for any noun - non-addiction is the state of not being addicted, whatever "addicted" may mean in this context. This kind of construction might be useful in certain kinds of writing - for instance, if we wanted to describe the participants in a controlled study as either addicts or non-addicts.

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If the term addiction is used in the sense of the disease or state of addiction (as opposed to the process of becoming addicted to, or dependent upon, something), one good antonym would be sobriety.

Jo got her six-month chip, recognizing a half year of sobriety.

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Possible answers to your question are Divergence, Deviation, Liberation and Aversion.

De-addiction is more of the process of getting off an addiction rather than the antonymous noun form of addiction.

Divergence and Deviation are synonymous in the sense that they both mean to move away from something.

Since Addiction can be thought of as a form of enslavement, Liberation seems to go well, as in His liberation from alcohol was largely in thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Some people claim Aversion as an answer, but I do not wholly agree as it denotes dislike towards something rather, and the antonym of aversion is attraction, but I guess it can be used in a certain sense.

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how about the word "bete noire" .... it means hatred/fear/dislike

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As I think of addictions like a behavioral cancer and like cancer cells do not differentiate with cancet, neither to solutions to problems with addictions. In this way I would say the opposite of addiction would be full fledged differentiation of solutions to problems, a kind of nirvana of the self that a very few people ever experience or even fathom for that matter.

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How about phobia — if addiction is the overwhelming urge to go towards something, then the overwhelming urge to avoid it would be a phobia.

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