A habit is an action that is regularly repeated, often to the point where it becomes automatic and requires little thought or effort. The brain becomes accustomed to the action and is likely to initiate it automatically in response to specific cues or triggers.
Habits can be both healthy and unhealthy. Positive habits, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, can lead to improved well-being, while negative habits, such as smoking, drinking, or drug use can have adverse effects on health, relationships, a job and quality of life.
While breaking a habit requires conscious effort and persistence, it doesn’t necessarily need a long-term effort. An addiction, on the other hand, requires an integrative long-term treatment plan addressing physical and emotional symptoms.
When Is A Habit Developing Into An Addiction?
Habits and addictions are both behaviors that people engage in regularly, but they differ in several ways.
The simplest way to define addiction is when the four C's are present: compulsion, craving, consequences, and control loss. These are not present in a habit. While habits can become deeply rooted and hard to break, they are not the same as compulsive behavior that comes with addiction.
To determine if an a habit is turning into addiction, ask yourself these questions regarding drug or alcohol use:
Do you need to consume increasingly greater quantities to experience the desired effect?
Do your thoughts go back to drugs and drinking no matter what you do to distract yourself?
When you stop using or drinking, or don’t have access for several hours after use, do you experience withdrawal symptoms like anxiety or stress?
Is your drinking or drug use causing harmful consequences or having a negative impact on your life? Do you repeatedly put yourself in risky situations?
Do you try to hide your behavior?
How Can Someone Avoid Becoming Addicted?
Not all habits lead to addiction, and the likelihood of a habit turning into an addiction can vary based on factors such as genetics, environment, the substance involved, and individual vulnerabilities.
Because a habit is an automatic response to specific cues or triggers, it’s important to be mindful of your behaviors and take proactive steps to maintain control. A few ways to be mindful about your drug use or drinking habits:
Question yourself: is this really what I want right now?
Set a limit and stick to it.
Practice what you’ll say if you choose to decline when others choose to participate.
When To Ask For Help
Recognizing the signs of addiction and seeking early intervention and treatment are essential to address addictive behaviors before they become more challenging to overcome.
Even though habits can be powerful, they cannot force you to use drugs, alcohol or partake in certain behaviors. Unlike a habit like brushing teeth, an addict has almost no control over his or her desire to repeatedly engage in the addiction.
If you think that you may be dealing with an addiction problem, it’s important to speak to an addiction specialist about your concerns.
Getting Help For Addiction
While addiction recovery can be challenging, it is achievable with the right resources and support. If you or somebody in your life seems to have an issue with alcohol or drugs, or is suffering from addiction, professional help may be the best option for recovery.
At Care Addiction Center, we offer treatment plans that address every facet of your addiction issues. To get started on the road to recovery, or if you have questions about helping yourself or a loved one, contact us at our Illinois rehab. You can also schedule a confidential assessment online, or give us a call at 630-402-0144.