How Compulsivity and Addiction are Connected

Man with his hand on a barbed wire fence. Text: Compulsivity & Addiction

Compulsivity describes involuntary actions done despite an awareness that the behavior is not positive or helpful.  

Some actions appear harmless, but they are detrimental to one’s quality of life because they are done against the person’s desire to stop the behavior.

Compulsive behaviors are the kind you have the urge to do repeatedly. 

While this description could also apply to a simple habit, compulsion differs from habit in that the task must be completed in order to relieve a feeling of anxiety or unease

In essence, the compulsive action serves as an ineffective solution to a problem or discomfort.

This might look like :

  • Inability to deviate from a strict routine
  • Excessive cleaning of external surfaces or washing oneself 
  • Obsessive orderliness – (re)arranging objects in a particular or precise way
  • Repeatedly checking things like phones, locks, appliances, etc.
  • Persistent tapping, touching, or rubbing
  • Compulsive counting

In the context of addiction, someone who suffers from a compulsive disorder may seek out drugs to alleviate the anxiety of these urges. 

Unfortunately, the very nature of the urge they are trying to escape increases the likelihood that someone given to compulsive behaviour will develop an addiction to a harmful substance.

Compulsion and addiction resemble each other in that the person often experiences substantial mental anguish over the desire to be in control of their actions. 

Whether the root cause is a compulsive disorder or chemical dependency upon a substance, Reflections Recovery Center is equipped to help you discover whole-person, life-long recovery. Contact us today

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