There are people who do not differentiate between addiction and compulsion, but it is important to differentiate it so as not to fall into ambiguities. Then you will be able to learn what are the differences between the two.
Defining addiction and compulsion
An addiction is a broad term, which is used to describe a complete process by which people become dependent on a particular substance or behavior to cope with life. This dependence becomes so important to the person who will persist in using the substance or become involved in the behavior, even when it is harmful to themselves, their family and other important areas of their life.
On the other hand, compulsion is a term used to describe the intense need to do something, which can sometimes lead to behavior, but it is not always done. Compulsions are a small but important part of the addictive process and are also an important part of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
How are addiction and compulsion related? As an addiction develops, it begins to involve the desire or compulsion to take an addictive substance, such as alcohol or heroin, or to engage in addictive behavior, such as gambling or sex, but it also involves other processes.
The key differences
There are two main differences between addiction and compulsion. They include:
A compulsion, at least as experienced in obsessive-compulsive disorder, does not include the experience of pleasure , while an addiction does. While people who have addictions suffer all kinds of discomfort, the desire to use the substance or participate in the behavior is based on the expectation that it will be pleasant.
In contrast, a person who experiences a compulsion as part of an obsessive-compulsive disorder may not feel pleasure from the behavior he performs, he may even experience distress. Often, it is a way to deal with the obsessive part of the disorder, resulting in a feeling of relief.
This can be a bit confusing because there is often a point for people with addictions who do not really enjoy the addictive behavior, and only seek relief from the urge to use or participate in the behavior. This is compounded by the abstinence experience that often happens when they stop taking the substance or become involved in the behavior. Although this may seem like an obsessive-compulsive behavior because the pleasure is gone, the original motivation to get involved in the behavior was to feel good.
Another important distinction between an addiction and a compulsion has to do with the individual’s awareness of reality. When people have an obsessive-compulsive disorder, they are usually aware that their obsession is not real. Often it bothers them to feel the need to carry out a behavior that defies logic, but they do it anyway to alleviate their anxiety .
In contrast, people with addictions are often far removed from the lack of meaning of their actions, feeling that they are simply having a good time and that other concerns are not as important. This is often referred to as denial because the addicted person denies that their use or behavior is a problem. Often it is not until an important consequence occurs, such as the breakage of an important interpersonal relationship, a drunk driving accident, or the loss of a job, that they face the reality of their addiction .
Do not get confused anymore
It may be that addiction and compulsion are terms that you have in your usual language, like many words that are commonly used, although they can be misused and misunderstood. This will cause confusion especially for those people who suffer from addictions or compulsions.