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Real Recovery of Asheville
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Addiction is defined as the continued repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences. When a person is addicted to something, they can’t control how they use it and become dependent on it to cope with their daily lives. There are two types of addictions: substance dependence (e.g. drug addiction) and behavior addiction (e.g. gambling addiction).

Many people can habitually use substances or engage in activities without any serious problems. However, there are individuals who experience damaging physical and/or psychological effects when their habit becomes an addiction.

What is the difference between a habit and an addiction?

• Habit—A habit is a behavior that is engaged in by choice. If you decide that you want to stop and are able to successfully follow through with that decision without physical or psychological problems, then you have a habit.
• Addiction—If you want to stop participating in a behavior, but find it impossible to follow through with that decision because it creates serious physical and/or psychological distress, then you are dealing with an addiction. You’ve lost the ability to control your choices.

If you are still uncertain whether you are dealing with a habit or an addiction, there are three questions you can ask yourself. These questions are only a quick at-home test and not meant to replace a professional opinion. If you answer “yes” to any of them, consult with a health care provider for further screening and guidance.

1. Do you use more of the substance or engage in the behavior more often than in the past?
2. Do you have unpleasant physical and/or psychological symptoms when you don't use the substance or engage in the behavior?
3. Have you ever lied to anyone about your use of the substance or extent of your behavior?

If you are in control of your repetitive choices, then you have a habit. If you want to break it, you should be able to do so within a relatively short amount of time with simple determination and effort. If you realize that you are not in control of your choices, then you are likely struggling with an addiction. 

Regardless of whether you’ve just crossed over from a habit to an addiction or you’ve been wrestling with the disease for years, you can beat it with the right treatment plan and support system. Do not hesitate to speak to a physician or therapist about how to begin your road to recovery.

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