Difference Between Habit and Addiction

The difference between habit and addiction has been constantly debated. There is a very fine line between the two and if it is crossed, the consequences may not be pleasant. To understand the difference between addiction and habit, let’s take a look at the two terms separately. Difference Between Habit and Addiction

HABIT  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 is no longer aware of what they are 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 certain substance. In this case, the individual has a dependency; as for example, in the case of drugs (heroin, alcohol, nicotine); characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms in case of withdrawal.

The compulsive character of an addicted person develops and persists, even though they know that what they do or use is harmful to themselves or to others. Addiction goes beyond the line of habit, because whoever suffers it loses control of their actions .

Many addicts know that they are dependent on certain substances, but they cannot stop using them even if they want to. When you have an addiction, the person does not skimp on resources or does not mind going to the last consequences to get what he wants.

When an addict is in abstinence, the effects can be 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, their ability to make decisions, and their ability to learn.

Finally, a habit can be changed or modified; But addictions are hard to break and require professional help, yet both take hard work and determination.

The most dangerous thing about addiction is that in most cases it causes the body to deteriorate, to the point where it can lead to death. To find out 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 nail biting) and the person stops doing it for a few days, it will not cause any physical or psychological effects; but if it is an unsatisfied addition, it can 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 negative, while addictions are always negative.
  • Examples of habits: wiggling your ears, rubbing your hands, sucking your thumb …
  • Examples of addictions: gambling, drugs, sex, alcohol.

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