What’s the difference between addiction and compulsion?

Differences between an addiction and a compulsion are, at first glance, difficult to determine. However, when these terms are psychologically defined, the distinction is apparent. An addictions counselor with Insight will explain the contrast between addictions and compulsions to broaden your understanding and help you to recognize whether you may have an addiction or a compulsion.

While both addictions and compulsions are established by the interaction of genetic, biological and psychological elements, there are a few key dissimilarities that exist which differentiate the two disorders. With the help of a Calgary addiction counselor, addicts can recognize and overcome a debilitating addiction.

Addictions counselling and you

Addictions counseling effectively deals with compulsions, which involve ritualistic and repetitive behaviours that afflicted individuals must perform in order to alleviate severe anxiety. If they are not able to do something—wash hands every five minutes, count to 30 before leaving their house or touch everything with two fingers, for example—anxiety overwhelms them to the point of experiencing panic attacks or uncontrollable agitation.

Alternatively, addictions do not involve ritualistic behaviours but are performed because without ingestion of  a substance, the addict experiences severe physical symptoms—body aches, vomiting, headaches, fatigue—which worsen in time. A Calgary addictions counselor with Insight can assist those suffering from either compulsions or addictions by helping them overcome and understand the dynamics of these issues.