Habitual Drug Use is Different than Addiction

 Addiction | Lakehouse Recovery Center

Habitual Drug Use Can Lead to Addiction

It’s one thing to have a drug habit and it’s another to have an addiction. A drug habit is when a person is regularly using drugs or alcohol. For instance, perhaps they drink every weekend, or a person might even drink every evening.

Drinking or using drugs on a regular basis defines having a drug or alcohol habit. However, there are some characteristics that accompany addiction that do not describe a drug habit.

Of course, having a drug habit could lead to an addiction. Addictions are patterns of habitual behavior that can get out of hand. The primary difference between habitual drug use and an addiction is that a person has lost their power to control their use of drugs and alcohol.

For instance, if a person has been drinking for many months three times per week and suddenly develops an irresistible urge to drink. And if this person continues to feel this compelling desire to drink then there’s a good chance that an addiction is developing.

Warning Signs of an Addiction

Addictions come with compulsions. A compulsion is an irresistible and often uncontrollable urge to behave in a certain way, especially against your own conscious wishes. When a habit of drinking begins to gain power and you feel the inner pressure to drink even if a part of you doesn’t want to, then there’s sign of addiction.

An alcohol or drug addiction, for example, could be defined by a loss of control where you find yourself spending large amounts of time engaging in alcohol-related or drug-related activity to the point where you are neglecting social, academic, or familial responsibilities. You’re not only drinking and/or using drugs; you’re thinking about drinking and drug use.

You’re planning your day so that you can get drunk or high. You’re planning your financial life so that you can have enough money to buy alcohol throughout the month.

With a habit of drug use or drinking, there’s a greater chance that a person has the ability to not drink one night. For instance, if a person needed to go out of town one weekend and he or she did not have the opportunity to drink, then there may not be a problem if drinking or drug use were merely a habit.

However, with an addiction, a person might say no to their social, family, or work responsibilities in order to stay home and drink. A person might avoid friends and family in order to continue their regular drinking or drug use.

Indications That Can Show Physical Dependency

Another factor that differentiates habitual drug use from addiction is dependency. If a person recognizes symptoms of withdrawal when they’ve gone without using or drinking for a period of time, this is an indication that he or she may be physically dependent upon the substance. And yet another sign of addiction is tolerance.

If a person requires more of a substance in order to get high or drunk, this indicates that the body is becoming tolerant of the alcohol or drugs. Compulsive behavior, dependency, and tolerance indicate that a person has an addiction.

If you see these signs in yourself or someone you care about, contact a mental health provider for support today!


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