Home Treatments Bad habit vs. addiction – how can you tell the difference?

Bad habit vs. addiction – how can you tell the difference?

by Juan D. Vanpelt

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We’re all too familiar with bad habits because we all have them. They can be annoying, but since no one is perfect, most people learn to accept them. Addiction on the other hand is a whole different story as it can seriously affect all aspects of your life and the lives of the ones around you. The problem is sometimes there’s a fine line between the two and it can be hard to tell which one you’re dealing with. So we’re going to try to shed some light on the matter and help you understand the differences.

Understanding habits

Habits can be described as a repeated behavior that in time becomes harder and harder to let go of. It’s perfectly normal to develop habits since it’s part of human nature to engage in routine behaviors. A habit can be brushing your teeth in the morning, drinking coffee or biting your nails. The more often you repeat an action, the sooner it will turn into a habit.

When you act out of habit you’re basically running on autopilot, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because that helps you save your energy for more important tasks. Habits can be good or bad, and when you develop a bad habit that’s when problems start to arise.

Understanding addiction

Addiction is a bit more complex. It’s a health condition that is manifested by compulsive substance abuse, regardless of its negative effects. Addiction doesn’t happen overnight and it might start out as a bad habit, but over time it progresses into a full-fledged disease. For most people,

People suffering from addiction can give up everything and take serious risks in order to continue with their harmful behavior. The substances they use change the way their brain functions, and without professional help it can be extremely difficult to recover. That’s why talking to a loved one might not be enough, and most times people have to enter recovery programs at specialized treatment centers such as Los Angeles Drug Rehab to overcome their substance abuse issues.

It should be mentioned though, that not all addictions are related to substance abuse. Any obsessive behavior that leads to the same consequences as drugs and alcohol abuse can be considered an addiction.

Notable differences

It’s pretty obvious from the descriptions above that bad habits and addiction are not one and the same thing. The most important aspect that separates the two is the ability to control the situation. When you’re dealing with a habit, be it good or bad, you still have the power to decide what you do. You’re still in control and you can change the way you behave if you put enough effort.

With addiction, things aren’t that easy. One usually loses the ability to make choices and is guided only by the need to consume the substances he’s addicted to. That makes it incredibly hard to stop the harmful behavior, but with the necessary support and the right treatment it can be achieved.


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