Habit vs. Addiction
The difference between habit and addiction has been the subject of constant debate. There is a very thin line between them and if crossed, the consequences may not be pleasant. To understand the difference between habit and addiction, let’s look at the two terms separately.
Difference between Habit and Addiction
A habit is defined as a pattern of behavior acquired by frequent repetition or physiological exposure, which manifests itself regularly or more easily than other behaviors; it is a way of behaving that has become almost or totally involuntary.
The constant repetition of an activity can become a habit, to the point where the person ceases to be aware of what he is doing. For example: biting your nails, moving your feet.
Habits can be both positive and negative, but they are not destructive in nature. The continuous repetition of some activity causes the brain to send signals automatically so that we can perform a certain act again.
Addiction is defined as the compulsive need to do something or use a particular substance. In this case, the individual has a dependency; for example, in the case of drugs (heroin, alcohol, nicotine …); characterized by tolerance and well-defined physiological symptoms in case of withdrawal.
The compulsive nature of an addicted person develops and persists, even though he knows that what he does or uses is harmful to him or others. Addiction goes beyond the habit, because whoever suffers it loses control of their actions.
Many addicts know that they have dependence on certain substances, but they cannot stop consuming them even if they want to. When you have an addiction, the person does not skimp on resources nor do not mind reaching the ultimate consequences to get what he wants.
When an addict is in abstinence, the effects can become horrible. A person who stops drinking after being addicted to alcoholic beverages for years, exhibits quite remarkable psychological and physical effects. Likewise, addictions also affect a person’s memory, ability to make decisions and their ability to learn.
Finally, a habit can be changed or modified; but addictions are difficult to leave and require professional help, yet in both cases it takes hard work and determination.
The most dangerous thing about addiction is that in most cases it causes the body to deteriorate, to the point that it can lead to death. To know if someone has a habit or an addiction, there is a very simple test. Can the person live without it? If it is a habit (like biting your nails) and the person stops doing it for a few days, it will not cause any physical or psychological effect; but if I is an addition that is not satisfied, it may cause withdrawal effects.
Key Differences between Addiction and Habit
- Habits are actions that people repeat and of which they are sometimes not aware, whereas an addiction is an extreme and compulsive form of habit; in which the affected person has dependence on something and no control of their actions.
- Habits can be controlled, while addictions are very difficult to control.
- Habits can be positive or black, while addictions are always negative.
- Examples of habits: moving ears, rubbing hands, thumb sucking …
- Examples of addictions: gambling, drugs, sex, alcohol.