An obsession is different than an addiction. An obsession is an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind. However, an addiction is an illness that affects the brain, causing a person to engage in compulsory substance use or addictive behaviors, such as gambling.
It’s important to know the difference between an addiction and an obsession, especially if you or someone you know may be facing an addiction. An addiction requires professional medical and mental health treatment, but an obsession might not be dangerous to someone’s physical or mental health.
Obsession Vs. Addiction
It’s possible for an obsession to turn into an addiction if that person is obsessed with drug use, drinking, or another rewarding activity to which they can become addicted. Most people associate addiction to drugs and alcohol. However, addiction can also develop with gambling, shopping, sex, eating, and other activities that trigger the reward center in the brain.
Factors That Can Predispose a Person to Addiction
Although it’s possible for an obsession to become an addiction, there are many people who can have an obsession with gambling, for instance, who may never develop an addiction. There are a number of factors that can predispose a person to addiction. These factors include:
- Experiencing aggressive behavior in childhood
- Lack of parental supervision
- Poor social skills
- Drug experimentation at a young age
- Availability of drugs
- Community poverty
- Parent or guardian drug use
- Method of administration
- Presence of a mental illness
- Lack of coping skills
- Unresolved trauma
If any of the above apply to you and your experiences, it can be helpful to be aware of your potential tendencies to engage in addictive behaviors. You can be cautious about drinking or using drugs and can be aware of any obsessive thoughts.
Do You Need Addiction Treatment?
The exact cause of addiction (sometimes known as substance use disorder) is not clear. Every individual is different, and those who struggle with substance abuse all turned to drugs or alcohol for different reasons. However, the above factors have proven to have an influence on whether a person is vulnerable to addiction. Genetics can also play a role in the development of addiction for someone. To tell whether a person is struggling with an addiction, look for these signs:
- Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than they meant to
- Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not managing to
- Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance
- Cravings and urges to use the substance
- Not managing to do what they should at work, home or school, because of substance use
- Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships
- Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use
- Using substances again and again, even when it puts them in danger
- Continuing to use, even when they know they have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the substance
- Needing more of the substance to get the effect they want (tolerance)
- Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above, reach out for addiction treatment today.
Reach Out to Westwind Recovery® Today
Obsession and addiction are distinct yet linked. If you notice obsessive tendencies in yourself and have started using drugs or drinking more than you think you should, reach out for help today. At Westwind Recovery®, we offer addiction therapy in our Los Angeles counseling center. Reach out to our team at 855.340.8832, or contact us online to learn more.