What’s the difference between a habit and an Addiction?
It isn’t always easy to know the difference between a habit and an addiction. One way to tell the difference is to look at the outcomes or consequences of your habits. Addiction tends to be defined by doing something despite negative consequences. So asking yourself if your habits are causing you negative consequences can be a great way to begin telling if between a habit and an addiction.
So what is the difference between a habit and an addiction?
A habit is a behavioral pattern where one action has been repeated so often that it becomes automatic. There is always a type of conscious choice with a habit. An addiction is a chronic disease of the brain which can be created from habit but is a more extreme form of it because it is not a conscious choice. It is an uncontrolled dependence on something without which life feels meaningless.
When we repeatedly do an act, it becomes a habit. It is an automatic response of the brain to do this action etc. because you have been doing it this way for so long, you do it the same way every time.
- Habits develop through practice or repetition.
- Appears due to regularity.
- Habit is conscious. A person can have control over their habits.
- The long term outcomes of habits are usually to create positivity in life.
Addiction is also a repeated action but it is an action that you would find difficult to live without. A person with an addiction also does not have any control over their impulses and is not conscious of their addiction like they would be of a habit. Addiction is a physical and psychological dependence on substances like drugs, alcohol, or tobacco which temporarily affects the chemical makeup of the brain.
- Addiction is created through uncontrolled repetition of an act or repeated use of a substance.
- Appears due to dependence.
- Someone with an addiction does not have a choice in the matter. Their impulses are not controlled.
- The long term outcomes of an addiction are negative and addiction is destructive. Many people keep using drugs or repeating acts despite multiple negative consequences.
The difference between a habit and an addiction is most importantly whether or not there is a conscious choice involved. If it can be controlled it is a habit but if the habit controls the individual it is an addiction. Another main distinction between habits and an addiction is that while it can be hard to change habits, habits can be changed. An addiction is a chronic disease and once a person has it they cannot change it. Addiction takes time to change and the actual disease never disappears. Habits can be totally changed and left behind; this is not the case with addiction. Addiction will always be there even though it can be overcome. Once you leave a habit behind there is no threat of it coming back unless you choose to go back to those actions etc. With addiction it is a constant journey to keep it in remission.
If your loved one is in need of addiction treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135