Habit or Addiction?

The word addiction is used in many different areas such as internet, shopping, social media, relationship, substance, caffeine, sports, gambling, smartphone, food addiction. “I have an addiction to food. I can’t stop eating.” with a person who complains or “You don’t drop your phone, you have a phone addiction.” You must have come across people who use sentences like this. Before making such judgments, I think we should consider these two concepts separately in order to distinguish whether the phenomenon is habit or addiction.

Our habits define the behaviors we routinely do in our daily lives. Habits can be positive or negative. Going to bed at the same time every day, brushing your teeth, walking every day are positive habits. Sleeping late at night, eating heavy meals at night, smoking are negative habits. Repetition of negative habits with a certain routine is not always considered an addiction.

Addiction is the next stage of habit. The full occurrence of addiction is assessed by routine and excessive addictive behavior. Feelings and thoughts such as not being able to stop doing it, not being able to give up the habit even if the person is hurt, not being able to quit even if he wants to, thinking that he can’t do without it are dominant. Addiction is when a person becomes excessively dependent on an object, person or phenomenon. The most important factor that feeds addiction is the presence of an exhilarating external factor. Pleasure and enjoyment depend on something outside. The most attractive aspect is that it can distract people from anxiety and tension.

While addictions such as alcohol, substance and cigarette cause medical problems, other types of addiction cause more emotional and social problems. All types of addiction reduce a person’s quality of life in terms of its consequences. Because nothing other than being addicted can make a person happy.

If we take the psychological addiction as an example, which is more dominant; If a person who spends the evening playing pc games between 19:00 and 21:00 and does this routinely every day, has an exam the next day or has a program about a friend, can give up playing pc for that day, this is a habit. However, if he cannot stop playing games even when he has another responsibility or social activity, if the hours he spends at the computer are getting longer every day, if he cannot go to school or even take care of himself, then we can say that this game has turned into an addiction.

Is It Possible to Change Habits?

In order to replace the habits with a new one, the first step should be to prepare oneself mentally, in other words, to make a decision. Then, new behavior patterns should be adopted and the differences that can replace the behavior/habit should be realized. Although the familiarity and reliability of the old habit may feel like deprivation at first, the resolute implementation of the replaced behavior will allow the new habit to settle. Every successful effort will support the person in a positive way by increasing his/her self-belief. In this respect, it is very important to be able to delay gratification and to pass the momentary feeling of happiness that the habit will give. In fact, you should not forget that you decided to change because you knew the long-term damage of the habit.

Addiction, on the other hand, is a disorder that is more difficult to cope with and requires different approaches and treatment options depending on the type. It is possible for a person to get rid of addiction individually, but it is very difficult. With pharmacological, psychological treatments and social support, the treatment of the habit that harms the person who has reached the level of addiction is more effective. If you feel that there is addiction in your environment or that a habit is going towards addiction, you should seek expert help without delay or force your loved ones to seek help. Like all other ailments, the sooner addictions are treated, the more easily a solution can be obtained.


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