Not many people can tell you when their habit became an addiction. If they think about it long enough they will be able to confirm that a particular habit did take on a life it’s own and morph into being an addiction. There are some distinct differences between addictions and habits. Addictions are not limited to bad or unhealthy actions. They can include healthy actions, done in unhealthy amounts, in unhealthy ways, or in place of participating in the rest of their life. Addictions are not who a person is to begin with, but can be what defines them in the end.
Anything can be come a potential addiction. Some popular ones include, food, sex, shopping, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, relationships, and even pain. “I have an addictive personality”, has become a very popular thing to say. People hide behind this. It’s like a cover or disclaimer to excuse their behavior. This is something that may be said while the addiction is still in the habit stage. Unfortunately, this way of thinking is also the tie that binds the person, to the benign thing or action, that used, or done in excess, will be the person’s undoing.
There are plenty of people who engage in all of the behaviors that become the addictions of others, and do not become addicted to them. There is obviously a trigger that goes off to propel certain people into the darkness of their actions. While others enjoy life in a normal healthy way, unencumbered by the compulsion to repeatedly do things that ultimately make them unhappy.
When an individual engages in a habit, they may recognize that they routinely take part in a certain activity, but can still feel whole and happy while doing other things as well. These people will more than likely be able to change the habit once they have decided it’s to their benefit to do so, and when they feel ready to.
The person addicted to the same behavior will rarely, if ever, feel comfortable when not engaging in their addiction. It usually becomes their motivation for most of what they will do in the course of their day. If they are unable to participate in doing what they are addicted to they may experience great anxiety and depression. They could have actual physical withdrawal and can become very sick and despondent. Addictions will drive people to do anything to be able to get what they feel they need. They are painfully aware that they are not experiencing happiness or pleasure, at some point, later in their addiction, but feel that they cannot stop. Sometimes the only way for an addiction to be broken is to shock the system, by completely taking the person out of any reach of what they are addicted to. Or in the case of food addictions, have close supervision at all times.
Addictions can be broken, as can habits. The difference is that once that line is crossed, there is usually no going back. Though the action can be stopped or controlled, it will be an issue that the person will need to be ready to have resurface at any time. Usually the longer the time in recovery, the stronger the individual becomes and the weaker their addiction becomes.