The Difference Between Substance and Behavioral Addiction

Anything that becomes an obligation rather than voluntary is considered an addiction. Therefore, we have behavioral addiction which is somewhat different from drug addiction. Behavioral addiction is seen as a habit that becomes an obligation.

Some who voluntarily gambled or watch television before, but now feels a constant uncontrollable urge to do those things is considered an addiction.

So, addiction goes beyond the consumption of a particular substance or alcohol. Dependence on the internet, gambling or television can be classified as addiction.

Behavioral addiction as similarities with substance addiction in that the person feels mandated to go that thing or consume that drug.

It is also similar in that the person cannot control his/her use of that drug or activity. But there are differences between substance addiction and behavioral addiction.

Although both types of addiction involve constant reliance on the activity or drug and the domination of their life by these activities. Some differences include;

  • Use of Substances

While substance addiction involves the physical consumption of drugs or alcohol, there is no such consumption in behavioral addiction. You do not drink or intake anything in behavioral addiction, but activities are involved.

  • Easy Access

Unlike substance addiction where the person still needs to buy drugs or alcohol, behavioral addiction is easily more accessible. You have easy access to television; you also have easy access to the internet. So, it is easily to get addicted in behavioral addiction than in substance addiction.

  • Treatment Program

Although there are similarities in the treatment programs of both addictions, there are slight differences.

Since the behavioral addiction relates more to behavior than physical consumption. The treatment relates more to mental, emotional, and behavioral evaluation.

In summary, addictions are similar because they are even an individual overly dependent, emotional and socially damaged.

But still various types of addictions have slight differences as explained here. Especially when it relates to treatment programs, they are tailored towards individual types of addiction.


What is Addiction

Addiction is a chronic illness that affects a person psychologically, emotionally, and physically.

It is the constant dependence on a substance, alcohol, or activity, such that you can’t stop yourself from engaging in it or consuming it.

Addiction has become a serious problem for many cities around the world, especially with the onset of opioid addiction some years ago.

Addiction doesn’t relate to drugs alone, it could be an addiction to drugs like cocaine and heroin.

It could also be constant dependence on alcohol, such a person cannot stop drinking alcohol. Also, addiction can occur with activities like eating and gambling.

A person can become addicted to gambling when he/she cannot stop gambling and is always found gambling with anything, wherever they are.

Addiction often begins with voluntary use of a substance but escalates into compulsive dependence on that substance. This addition has serious implications for the social, mental, and physical well-being of a person.

But first what are the causes of addiction? Addiction can occur due to an inability to deal with stress, such that a person results in the constant use of a substance to relieve stress. This soon becomes a habit they cannot control and it turns into an addiction.

Addiction may also be caused by childhood trauma. A person may have a traumatic life that disturbs them mentally and he/she may see drugs or alcohol as an escape from everything that happened. So, they begin to use drugs constantly which could lead to addiction.

There are many other reasons for addiction such as genetics, peer pressure, and much more.

But addiction leaves no positive effect on a person despite whatever may cause it. It affects the functioning of the brain and prevents them from performing at optimal levels.

Addiction also causes addicts to have social withdrawal, such that they begin to draw back from family and friends that can help them.

It also affects their work-life or school and could lead to loss of jobs due to bad performance and regular absence.

In summary, addiction of any kind is a horrible disease that requires professional help. So, if you notice signs of addiction in anyone, even if it is gambling addiction. Please do get them professional treatment as soon as possible.


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