People with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using. Their addiction may reach a point at which it is harmful. Addictions do not only include physical things we consume, such as drugs or alcohol, but may include virtually anything, such abstract things as gambling to seemingly harmless products, such as chocolate – in other words, addiction may refer to a substance dependence (e.g. drug addiction) or behavioral addiction (e.g. gambling addiction). In the past addiction used to refer just to psychoactive substances that cross the blood-brain barrier, temporarily altering the chemical balance of the brain; this would include alcohol, tobacco, and some drugs. A considerable number of psychologists, other health care professionals, and lay people now insist that psychological dependency, as may be the case with gambling, sex, internet, work, exercise, etc. should also be counted as addictions, because they can also lead to feelings of guilt, shame, hopelessness, despair, failure, rejection, anxiety, and/or humiliation. When a person is addicted to something they cannot control how they use it, and become dependent on it to cope with daily life. What is the difference between a habit and an addiction? Addiction – there is 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 – it 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. Put simply – with a habit you are in control of your choices, with an addiction you are not in control of your choices.
“Shame was an emotion he had abandoned years earlier. Addicts know no shame. You disgrace yourself so many times you become immune to it.” – John Grisham