Carbon Dependence Syndrome

It has come to the attention of the health profession that common usage patterns of carbon-based fuels bear all the hallmarks of a substance dependence syndrome.  Once recognised as a medical condition, its enormous clinical impact is producing shock waves in the health community.  However, although extremely serious, carbon dependence has been found to be eminently treatable, and evidence-based guidance on its diagnosis and management is now available - as presented on the pages of this site.


The Carbon Dependence Syndrome (CDS) can be defined in accordance with ICD-10* as “a cluster of physiological, behavioural, and cognitive phenomena in which the use of carbon-based fuels takes on a much higher priority for a given individual than other behaviours that once had greater value”.

Early case reports have been found dating back to the 19th century, with prevalence rising exponentially in the last 50 years. Profoundly under-diagnosed, the condition has now reached epidemic proportions in the UK – affecting almost 100% of the population. A particularly severe variety is found in affluent pockets of society.

Carbon dependence was initially seen almost exclusively in the developed world and remains predominantly a disease of the northern hemisphere. However, serious concerns over the rising incidence in India and China have led to fears of a global pandemic.


*International Classification of Diseases - tenth revision


No genetic influences have yet been identified, and it is notable that individuals migrating from areas of low to high CDS prevalence eventually take on the risk profile of the local population.

Conversely, environmental and socio-economic factors appear to be of some importance, e.g. out-of-town shopping centres show positive correlation with CDS – both prevalence and severity.


Recent breakthroughs in diagnosis and management of CDS have transformed expectations in what was once a universally disabling condition. With appropriate support, the Carbon Addict can now achieve almost complete recovery and may look forward to a healthy and rewarding future.