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Do you think there is a difference between a habit and an addiction?

Discussion in 'General Substance Abuse Discussion' started by pineywood, Apr 13, 2015.

  1. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    What is your response, when someone tells you drinking or taking drugs is merely a habit and not an addiction? Is there a fine line between the two or does it mean the same thing?

    Personally, I feel the two are the interchangeable terms, but I am not an expert. I am, just someone who has dealt far too many times with family member and friends falling astray to addiction. Seeing them break a "habit" is far and in between. For them to remain clean proves to be difficult at best, and sometimes impossible without professional help. What I do understand is that the fear they will fall back into their behavior pattern of destruction is possible. Especially, if they take their addiction or habit too lightly without thinking about the consequences.
  2. AFKATafcar

    AFKATafcar Community Champion

    Habits and addictions are far different from each other. You have daily habits that you're accustomed to doing and can change. Likewise, most normal habits can be broken for a few days without consequence, and you're not going to struggle with it. However, you can't really break an addiction in the same way because your body and mind will react very poorly to such incidents. An addiction is much, much harder to ignore or break compared to a simple habit.
    greybird29 and pineywood like this.
  3. EditorsRHumansToo!

    EditorsRHumansToo! Community Champion

    I've had my share of habitual pattern of established custom, in which I have accustomed to doing them. My habitual 'custom'-- which I do 'religiously'-- but it's okay if I missed a day doing them-- are not necessarily an addiction that I need to get rid of. These established habits, I suppose, help, do good, do kindness, promote happiness to those around who are helpless (a mother to her children, a strong husband to his sick wife). Addiction to drugs and alcoholism, which, harm the body and loved ones need help and encouragement of support and love to be stronger in their choice to stay away from their addiction.
    pineywood likes this.
  4. JessiFox

    JessiFox Active Contributor

    I do think there's a very fine line, especially in terms of things that are very often serious addictions. It's very easy for someone to claim that something is "just a habit", that they're totally in control and can stop anytime they want. In fact, I think for some people they are lying but they themselves believe these lies, too. It's a much nicer inner narrative than believing you're addicted.

    I believe that some people genuinely can be in control of something, it just be an occasional habit, but it's a dangerous line to walk and can so easily be crossed.
    pineywood likes this.
  5. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    I also think or believe that habit is different from addiction. Addiction is talking about excessive amount and uncontrollable consumption. It is having mind setting already that you cannot live anymore without that certain thing or substances.
    pineywood likes this.
  6. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Yes, I can relate to your reply. Although, I understand everyone's replies and thoughts on the difference between these two terms, where and how do you define the fine line. If you are in the habit of doing a behavior, until you actually stop doing it, are you not addicted to the behavior. Because saying you can stop, but not actually stopping, it is hared to determine, if are able to stop.

    I think it just becomes confusing, when your habit is not harmful, like in the case of drugs or alcohol compared to getting up every morning and having a cup of coffee. But the more I think about it, the more confused I am. Maybe a habit might not be an addiction in every case, but an addiction is always a habit?
    Well, it will be interesting to see how others chime in.
  7. dyanmarie25

    dyanmarie25 Community Champion

    Yes, there's absolutely a fine line between habit and addiction. When you say "habit", it only refers to something that you enjoy doing on a daily basis but somehow, it's totally not affecting your life in a bad way. On the other hand, when you say "addiction", it's about not having control over what you are doing, as though you couldn't live a day without using/doing it, you've been too dependent on it already.
    pineywood likes this.
  8. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    The only thing habits and addictions have in common probably is the difficulty of breaking the habit or overcoming an addiction. So if someone says that theirs is a habit then they, like any other addict will have some difficulty battling the "habit" if they choose to call their addiction that. Using drugs never can be a habit. If you habitually take drugs then it should be obvious you are an addict.

    Embracing denial would make it very hard for you to combat your addiction.
    pineywood likes this.
  9. imperivm1

    imperivm1 Community Champion

    I believe a habit becomes an addiction the moment you are unable to control your cravings. A habit can be easily eradicated and/or replaced with something else, whereas addiction is a severe mental condition that needs to be medically treated in order to for it not to occur again. Although, even then, you can't be sure about that either.
    pineywood likes this.
  10. TommyVercetti

    TommyVercetti Community Champion

    This. I agree, addictions have that characteristic lack of control, as well as being detrimental to other aspect of your life like physically, psychologically, and socially. Habits are born out of routine and an attempt by the brain to be more efficient by hard-wiring certain processes to do them automatically instead of thinking about them all the time.
    pineywood likes this.
  11. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I think the difference between the two is how far the person would go to satisfy the need. A habit, for example, might just be uncomfortable for the person if the itch is not scratched so to speak, but if it's an addiction then they might be willing to steal or kill or just be generally more irresponsible with their use or abuse.

    Personally, I think while the line is a little blurry in some situations, I don't believe it is the case for the majority. Most people just won't engage in risky situations if they are just supporting a habit, but if it's an addiction then they are more likely to do so.
    pineywood likes this.
  12. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    Well clearly there are good habits and good addictions. What you choose to make a habit or an addiction decides. Yeah I know a few people who have a lack of control with certain addictions and it has nothing to do with drugs or alcohol.
    It's a good habit to clean up after yourself. Music is a great addiction. Making a habit out of continuing an addiction to a person's attention who is no longer in your life and wants nothing to do with you. Clearly is a not a good idea all around. An addiction to committing a crime over and over again. You've got to find yourself a new outlet that is healthy and good. It's fine to have an addiction like riding a bike or jogging. These are great addictions. It is all about what you choose to be addicted to and is it constructive.
  13. Jamesbonner

    Jamesbonner Active Contributor

    Actually I think that there is a difference between a habit and addiction, but habit can't turns to addiction if it's done a lot of times, like for me, I had a habit of smoking, I used to smoke cigarette or 2 maximum daily, and sometimes I don't smoke at all, but with time it turns to addiction, I can't spend one day without smoke at least 10 cigarettes, so the habit is something you used to do but if you don't do it that doesn't effect you....
  14. Tsky45

    Tsky45 Community Champion

    I think an addiction and habit is the same thing. You can use techniques to break habits to break addictions also. A addiction becomes a habit because you've been doing it for at least several months. I think there's really no difference. If you can break bad habits you most likely can beat an addiction.
  15. harold

    harold Community Champion

    A habit is a routine that you set in your life and follow, that can be changed without any major consequences. It has to do with something you set up and has total control over it. An addiction on the other hand is a routine in your life that is imbedded in you. It feels like part of you and controls you. You surrender your will to this routine, because you do not have any authority over it. There is something in your body and mind that keeps telling you that you must respond to the routine. The voice is so loud that you feel like you are lacking something in your life if you do not respond to it. There is certainly a difference between a habit and an addition. A habit takes place regularly, but you have control over it and can put an end to it without seeking help. An addiction is a boss over you, and you need to discipline your bodily desires before you can say no to it.
  16. JRyan1909

    JRyan1909 Member

    I think for me, a habit crosses the line into an addiction once it starts to affect your health and well being, as well as the overall well being of the people in your life. People tend to forget addiction, like depression, is a very selfish disease. Not only can it claim the life of the addicted, it can also completely disrupt and upend the lives of everyone who cares for that person. If you feel you need to lie about how much you're using? Well, that's probably a warning sign. If you're using all the time or if your daily routine and responsibilities start to become compromised, then you are probably verging into addiction territory and you need to get yourself some help. You just cannot forget you may be hurting the people you love. Far, far too much collateral damage when it comes to addiction.
    JayLyn likes this.
  17. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Community Champion

    Habits are like burping and not saying excuse me. Habits can be anything that is not detrimental to your health. Ask any drug user and they will try to make it seems like it's not that bad and call it a bad habit. Addiction is on a whole different level where you will basically do anything to get it or use it.
  18. seatones

    seatones Member

    I would say that a habit is a pattern of behavior that one falls into; they can at least semi-easily fall back out of it. A habit is something like neglecting to brush one's teeth, or drinking every weekend with friends. These things might be ingrained into someone's life, but if they put in a little effort they could break themselves out of these things. An addiction is so deeply ingrained into someone's entire being that quitting becomes almost impossible. People can be addicted to things like exercise or cleaning, and these addictions aren't necessarily bad. Obviously an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be detrimental to someone's health and life because drugs and alcohol aren't healthy to do. If someone has a drug habit, the drug probably isn't controlling all aspects of their life like an addiction would.
  19. LinB

    LinB Senior Contributor

    A habit can be both positive and negative. An addiction however, is always negative. I can be in the habit of reading a lot or watching TV a lot. These are not necessarily bad things. An addiction on the other hand, is uncontrollable and overboard. Anything done in excess is an addiction, especially when taking drugs which cause irrational behavior. Taking addictive substances suggests that we addicts.
  20. LinB

    LinB Senior Contributor

    I agree with you. The addiction is like an insatiable craving. Being separated from such makes you feel like you're going mad.