How to tell if it’s habit or addiction

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Clients often ask me this question. Many of us believe it’s simply a bad habit we have gotten into and we can stop at any time. Sometimes we can but more often we find it’s not that simple.

I believe there are a few clues which may help you to determine if you may be dealing with a more serious addiction:

– If you’ve tried to stop on your own and been unsuccessful

– If you feel exhausted and pre-occupied with thoughts of using/drinking/the relationship/food etc. Almost like your mind cannot switch off!

– If you feel it’s affecting other areas of your life causing problems with your relationships, work, physical health, legal problems, financial issues….

– If friends/family members have expressed concern

– If you are suffering from anxiety or depression as a result of your substance/behaviour. Maybe also outbursts of anger, this is a common one…

– If you experience feelings of guilt and shame over your actions

Does anything on this list resonate with you? If it does you may be dealing with something that’s a bit more complex than a bad habit.

Addictions are insidious. Nobody starts off with an addiction, it becomes chronic and unmanageable over time and often the voice of the addiction itself will tell you that you can stop at any time. This is what makes it so hard to recognise because you become very good at lying to yourself. See if you can tune into what your inner addict might be saying to your right now.

Remember that addictions thrive on isolation so seeking support is often the first step to overcoming your addiction.

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