Thursday August 16th 2018

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Can addiction be good?

Basically, addiction (when left untreated) manifests as negative life consequences. How does addiction negatively affect your life? We explore here. And then we invite your questions or comments at the end.

A basic definition of addiction

In modern culture, people throw the world addiction around rather casually. It is not uncommon to hear someone say, “I am addicted to coffee”, or “I am addicted to running”. Over time, this can confuse the definition of addiction.

Because of its use in popular culture, many people confuse addiction with dependence. The two are similar but there is a difference. Dependence tends to focus on physical symptoms associated with withdrawal. There are plenty of people who have a dependence on caffeine. These people feel tired or unfocused without it. They do not however, develop a full blown addiction. They simply live with the mild symptoms of caffeine dependence.

While people may enjoy or even feel a need to do certain things, this need only becomes a true addiction when it has negative consequences and becomes physically or psychologically habit forming. That means addiction will probably never be a good thing. This is because a true addiction will almost certainly have negative consequences.

The consequences of addiction

Usually consequences of addiction fall in to one of three categories: relationships, money, and health.

1. Addiction affects relationships

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The first is relationships. Addictions will almost always effect relationships. People who are addicted will place their addiction above friends and family. This means they are often isolated. Not only is isolation a negative consequence of addiction, it is also one reason addiction is so hard to treat. People who become addicted often push people away. By the time they realise they need help, there may be no one there willing to offer it.

2. Addiction affects finances

The second effect of addiction is monetary. Addiction tends to cost time and money. Even cheap addictions will add up over time and when someone is constantly focused on feeding their addiction, they are less apt to hold down a job. Peoples professional relationships also suffer making it harder for them to continue in their chosen profession.

3. Addiction affects health

The final effect of addiction is health. Weather it is heroin, online gaming or running, a true addiction will most likely have negative health effects. This is because doing anything, even something considered healthy, too often will have negative consequences. The best example of this is breathing. Everyone needs to breath, but if you breath too fast it is called hyperventilating and you will pass out.

Addiction is usually NOT good

Simply put, an addiction is something that takes over your life. It becomes a seemingly irresistible and permanent urge to use alcohol or drugs in order to cope with psycho-emotional issues. Understanding that addiction is defined as having negative consequences, at least in many treatment circles, makes it easy to understand why there are no good addictions.

But what do you think? We invite your comments and feedback here.

Photo credit: Gwen Meharg


Leave a Reply

3 Responses to “Can addiction be good?
4:07 am September 16th, 2016

Is a strong habit like hording or collecting a form of addiction . Is addiction only bad when you are hurting your relationship/health or wealth. What if it consumes your daily life like for example religion or work.

4:54 am November 2nd, 2017

I disagree that addiction has to have “negative consequences” as an inherent part of its definition. You can be addicted to succeeding, always wanting to teach people, caring for people, etc which are all behaviours that stimulate the same chemicals in our brains (from attaining pleasure) as the “other” addictions. If we generalize the definition to “anything we can’t stop doing”, we can definitely be addicted to positive things!

Lydia @ Addiction Blog
2:45 pm November 22nd, 2017

Hi Doug. Thank you for your input. I see your point, but sometimes these good addictions may lead to other problems. For instance, if you are driven to be ambitious and successful, you may end up without friends because you will always put your priorities before everything. And, you may stop at noting…

About Brad Girtz

Brad Girtz is a blogger working at Life Works Community, a residential treatment centre. He writes content about mental health, addiction and many other conditions treated at Life Works. Brad enjoys sharing news and information about the latest innovations and ideas in the field of addiction and mental health.

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