Many people can use substances or become engaged in activities without any significant problems. Some people, however, may experience damaging psychological and/or physical effects when their habit becomes an addiction.
What is the difference between a habit and an addiction?
- Addiction has a psychological/physical component; the person is unable to control the aspects of the addiction without help because of the mental or physical conditions involved.
- Habit is done by choice. The person with the habit can choose to stop, and will subsequently stop successfully if they want to. The psychological/physical component is not an issue as it is with an addiction.
The causes of addiction vary considerably, and are not often fully understood. They are generally caused by a combination of physical, mental, circumstantial and emotional factors.
Addiction leads to tolerance, so that thee addicted person needs larger and more regular amounts of whatever they are addicted to in order to receive the same effect. Often, the initial reward is no longer felt, and the addiction continues because withdrawal is so unpleasant.