The Difference Between a Bad Habit and Addiction

The Difference Between a Bad Habit and Addiction

By Jennifer McDougall

A bad habit is something you do that you know is not suitable for you. It’s an action that may be hard to break, but it will not necessarily ruin your life (in most cases). On the other hand, addiction is a strong desire for something that can damage your health and well-being if left untreated. Addiction can cause you to feel like you can’t live without something. Whereas a habit is something that becomes integrated into your daily routine. It is essential to know the difference and when it’s time to reach out for help and receive treatment for the underlying causes of substance abuse and addiction-related issues.

A bad habit is a behavior you do that is undesirable.

Bad habits can range from barely noticeable to something that affects your health, relationships, and finances. Bad habits are often a result of our daily routines and how we react to certain situations. For example: if you eat junk food every day after work, it becomes part of your routine, and it’s hard for you to stop eating junk food because it’s become familiar and comfortable for you.

A habit is a routine or regular action that becomes more difficult to break the longer it persists. The truest habits may be seen in how people begin their days. By the time the morning has come and gone, they may have become so used to their routine that they go through it and hardly notice what they are even doing.

People’s behavioral patterns might become constant over time.

Bad habits can also be triggered by emotions such as boredom or sadness. For example: if you have a rough day at work or are going through a breakup, you may reach for a glass of wine or want to go out with friends for an occasional cocktail. Rather than sitting with the pain or frustration and doing something productive like working out or reading a book, you choose to numb the pain. This doesn’t happen every day, but whenever there is a challenge, you choose to do something unhealthy like drinking or smoking to cope.

Someone with addiction has done something often enough to be recognized as something they do regularly, maybe even daily.

Addictions, on the other hand, have far greater power than habits. 

In these cases, most individuals will make compromises in their life because they feel obligated to pursue a substance or activity. The compulsion to drink or use drugs may feel more powerful than their will to stop or the inability to choose healthy alternatives for enjoying the day or night.

Addiction is the behavior individuals often repeat and wish they could stop doing.

It’s not that different from any other habit, except that it isn’t necessarily good for you. For example, overeating candy or spending too much time on social media are bad habits because they can harm your health and are hard to break.

Addiction also tends to happen when we feel stressed out or anxious about something (like work, school, finances, or relationships). When this happens, we might turn to the same things again and again.

The most fundamental contrast between habit and addiction is how, to some extent, the choice is still possible with habit-forming actions.

When it comes to addiction, people often have a more difficult time making decisions due to their addiction to a substance or activity.

These elements are typically related to the brain’s reward circuits, which helps to explain their overwhelming influence in robbing people of their capacity to make reasonable judgments.

Overcoming addiction and bad habits can improve your health and overall quality of life.

Bad habits and addiction aren’t just annoying or inconvenient. They can also cause serious health, financial, and legal problems. In addition to the stress bad habits and addiction cause you personally, they also have the potential to negatively impact your relationships with family members and friends, as well as your job performance.

Addiction is often a sign of something more profound—such as an underlying psychological issue or condition—and you deserve proper treatment to help you live a happy and healthy life.

Researchers suggest you must catch yourself carrying out the action or behavior every time to break it and end the cycle.

In other words, if you don’t realize that you’re doing something terrible for yourself and make a conscious decision not to do it, it can be extremely difficult to change your day-to-day life pattern.

As an example: If a person has a bad habit of smoking cigarettes every morning while they get ready for work and they don’t catch themselves lighting up until they’ve already done so—and then they decide that this particular morning is going “to be different,” but then light up again anyway—a therapist would say that this person hasn’t broken their horrible smoking habit yet because they haven’t recognized what was happening right before their eyes. The same goes for having a drink every day after work or on the weekends.

Your brain may become addicted to habits like alcohol or drugs, making quitting challenging.

If you’ve ever wondered why quitting a bad habit or addiction is so hard, the answer is simple: your brain may become addicted to the practice, just like alcohol or drugs. When this happens, quitting is much more complicated than it would be; it can feel impossible. This phenomenon is called “chronic relapsing,” It occurs in individuals with an underlying mental illness such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). People with OCD are prone to addiction because they cannot control their behaviors and thoughts, which results in compulsive behavior.

Addiction is not just about the physical effects (like needle marks, dehydration, and organ complications) but also the emotional consequences. For example, addiction can lead to legal problems like DUIs and arrests, financial problems such as gambling or credit card debt, relationship problems with your loved ones and yourself because you don’t have time for them anymore—the list goes on.

People in active addiction need help to deal with the problem to change their lives for the better.

If you’re worried that you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, know that help is available. At Passages Malibu and Passages Ventura, we offer various treatment options. They vary in length of stay and intensity. Our treatment programs at Passages include individual (one-on-one) therapy, group therapy, and family therapy. In addition, we aim to help heal the person as a whole, using holistic therapy methods that have proven successful among our clients worldwide.

Addiction treatment programs are effective at helping people recover from substance abuse-related issues and heal the underlying causes that created the addiction in the first place. Anyone attending treatment must be serious about making changes within themselves to become the best possible version of themselves and end the cycle of addiction.

While both are hard to break, addiction needs specialized treatment that addresses the underlying cause of unhealthy behavior.

While it may seem like an addiction and a bad habit are the same, they have fundamental differences. For example, a person struggling with addiction will use substances or engage in behavior regardless of external consequences, while someone with a bad habit can control their behavior when necessary.

While both addictions and bad habits are hard to break, any struggling with addiction should seek specialized treatment that addresses the underlying cause of their unhealthy behavior and get the proper help they need to break the cycle. So if you think you have an addiction to drugs and alcohol and want help quitting, call (888) 397-0112 today to speak with one of our admission coordinators.

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