Home Health Addictions and Compulsions

Addictions and Compulsions


There is a huge addiction vs compulsion debate among those who do not understand the meaning of the two terms. However, the meanings are clear and definitive.

An addiction is a persistent urge to consume an addictive substance or commit an act. Notably, it is distinct from a compulsion. A compulsion is an irresistible and overwhelming impulse to act. Usually, obsessive and intrusive thoughts that force the person to act precedes a compulsive act, whereas an addiction is like a habit that is not certainly accompanied by obsessive thinking. A person experiencing either compulsions or addiction should consult a mental health professional.

Identifying Signs and Symptoms

Compulsive behaviors compriseof chronic gambling, sexual addictions, substance abuse, uncontrolled spending and shopping, hoarding, Internet gaming, excessive exercising, eating issues, among other behaviors. Any compulsive behavior can become an addiction when one is no longer able to control the act. It impairs a person’s ability to function academically, socially, and professionally. The difference between “compulsion” and “addiction” can sometimes become unclear, as a person might think regularly about the object of the addiction. Itmay become near-compulsive to trail the addictive behavior.

Determining if a habitual behavior has turned into problematic starts with evaluating the benefits related to the activity and the feelings and beliefs surrounding it. The distinction between a compulsive behavior and a passionate hobby may be difficult to discern. For example, is running 10 miles every day whether you are having rain, snowstorm or shine,an addiction, or is it an ideal athletic discipline?

Is a regular trip to Vegas to play the slots a gambling addiction, or just an escape from the hassles of the daily life? Compulsivity or addiction may be indicated when the behavior leads to feelings of distress, shame or guilt, or when abstaining from the behavior aggravates anxiety or proves to be intolerable.

Therapy for Addictions and Compulsions

Compulsive addictions and behaviors may give a person the sense of power, confidence, euphoria, validation, or other feelings that may else be lacking in their lives. Psychotherapy is intended to help addiction patients identify uncomfortable feelings and root causes of distress to change and grow.

People who battle with compulsivity and addiction are not likely to conquer those behaviors. That is unless they address the primary causes of their addictive and compulsive behaviors, including trauma, past abuse, stress, and others.

Working with a therapist such as those in United Recovery Project is one of the most effective treatment methods for managing compulsive addictions and behaviors. There are a number of therapies that are appropriate in addressing behaviors that an addict may want to change. Get in touch with us to get more information.