What is the difference between addiction and habit?
Continued from our last article What is an addiction?
We brush our teeth, say “Please” and “Thank you”. These are habits that we have learned to be civil in society. Some have bad habits like nail-biting, over spending, or procrastination.
Many can have a drink of alcohol or take an aspirin without any issue. For some these simple activities can become habits. Unfortunately, some habits turn into a compulsion thus an addiction. What once was a simple drink turns into a midnight cap which evolves into a body needing the substance. (I’ve seen this happen with soda too!)
Habits are created over a period of time. The person can freely start and stop the habit as they please. The body may want something, but the person can control the craving. The key thing here is the individual can control the urge.
Addictions, unlike habits, are uncontrollable urges that must be met. If the person has an urge they will go to measures that can cause physical damage. The mind or body will crave something and it must be fulfilled. This means that the individual is no longer in control of themselves, thus can be experiencing psychological masking, bodily cravings, or permanent brain chemical changes. With addiction, the individual has lost control.
People become addicted for various reasons. It can start among friends with peer pressure or be introduced innocently by a doctor to numb your pain. Regardless the source, addiction can ruin a home and it’s family. It destroys futures and wrecks good relationships.
Substance abuse counseling should be sought quickly because the longer one waits, the worse and more dependent the body become to the substance. Then dependency will eventually raise the tolerance level of the individual which will lead to higher doses to create the same effect of euphoria. Once the substance no longer has an effect on the body, the individual is still forced to continue as the pain of withdrawal is too great. This can lead to depression, anxiety, anger, etc.
What if someone you know seems to be an addict. What are some telltale signs of an addict? We will explain that next.
What is an addiction? | The fine line between addiction and habit | What are some signs of addiction? | Are there risks to addiction? | What could be the causes of addiction? | Can my addiction be diagnosed? | Criteria for Substance Abuse for Dependency | Can addiction be treated?