The Difference between Addiction and Overindulgence

Am I addicted to… ?

This is a common question when a person realizes that he/she does something more than is probably healthy but wonders if it’s a full blown addiction or just a bad habit.   The good news is that just because you do something a lot, doesn’t mean that you have an addiction.

We all have automatic habits that form over time as we do something frequently.  Checking your mobile phone for messages or hanging your coat in the same place when you walk in the door are good examples.  You do these things regularly and develop a sort of auto-pilot for them.  Before you know it, you’re doing it without even thinking.  This isn’t a problem unless the habit you’ve formed is starting to become an unhealthy habit, like eating too much junk food.  Then you might decide to stop doing it and with enough conviction it’s not too difficult to stop.

Addictions on the other hand are based on deep complex emotional triggers and are carried out for emotional reasons.  This makes them more difficult to recognize and stop.  Few people can see their own emotional baggage and it’s often well into an addiction that a person even notices that it’s a dependency problem.

If you’re wondering if your soda habit or porn obsession is a true addiction, you have to examine the reasoning behind it and decide if you have the power to quit.  If you are doing something just because you like it, but wouldn’t go into fits if it was taken away, you’re probably alright.  You may just want to examine and adjust your indulgences with your overall health and quality of life in mind.

However, if you are resorting to unhealthy substances or behaviors with an inability to control or stop yourself, or if you are turning this direction because of emotional trauma or weight, it’s likely that you need to take a step back and seek help.   Addictions are not something you just laugh off as a quirk.  True addiction is a vicious cycle that is wildly out of the addict’s control and requires professional intervention to break the deep psychology associated with the behavior.


Published on Sat, 02/21/2015 - 08:35
By Addiction Recovery