Dedication. Obsession. Addiction. When you think about these three terms, you may notice that they run in the same vein with methodical, intense behavior surrounding them. Indeed, there are some key similarities between their meanings and the behaviors they elicit. Yet, understanding how they differ is necessary because one can often be mistaken for the other. One way to better understand how dedication, addiction, and compulsion differ is by distinguishing the intentions behind the efforts of someone when they are practicing these three things.
Dedication by somebody is born from good intentions and wanting to better themselves at something or committing to a certain purpose. With dedication, there is a strong desire to deeply associate yourself with something and make it a focal point in your life. The intention behind dedication is the desire to be better and make better outcomes for yourself.
With addiction, there is an insatiable need to use a substance or perform a certain behavior. In addiction, the person is motivated by the desire to feel pleasure and escape from something, be it themselves, their emotional or physical pain, or their traumatic past. Addictions can take hold of a person’s life, and their brains make them believe nothing else matters, so they constantly seek out the substance or behaviors they are addicted to. The intention to use or perform a certain behavior in addiction is the desire to feel better or pleasure.
Compulsions sometimes appear simultaneously with people who experience addictions due to having a co-occurring disorder known as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Compulsions are the repetitious and irrational mental or physical acts a person feels they have to perform resulting from their obsessive thoughts. Performance of these acts results from a set of strict rules that the person has created in their mind. The intention behind compulsiveness is to feel relief from the fear and anxiety that their obsession produces.
When someone exhibits behavior in the domains of dedication, addiction, or compulsions, it can be challenging to distinguish the dividing line between the three behaviors since they all cause a person to perform deliberate, intense actions. By looking at these three behaviors through the lens of the intention of a person’s actions, it helps to make the key differences between these terms clear. If you or someone you know is struggling to get or remain sober, contact us at Avalon Malibu. At Avalon, we are a California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse treatment center dedicated to your success in recovery. We tailor our treatments to our client’s unique needs and specialize in treating co-occurring disorders well. For more information about how we can help you, call (844) 857-5992.