The Difference Between Addiction & Obsession

Here, we will consider the definition of “addiction”, and compare it to the criteria used for the definition of “obsession”.  According to the American Psychological Association, addiction can be defined as a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences. People with addiction (severe substance use disorder) have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s), such as alcohol or drugs, to the point that it takes over their life. They keep using alcohol or a drug even when they know it will cause problems.

The DSM-5 uses two criteria to define obsessions.  First, recurrent and persistent thoughts urges, or images that are experienced, at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive, unwanted, and that in most individuals cause marked anxiety or distress.  And, second, the individual attempts to ignore or suppress such thoughts, urges, or images, or to neutralize them with some thought or action (i.e., by performing a compulsion).

I hope this helped you understand the difference between addiction & obsession.

What Addiction Feels Like

To answer this question, the criteria required for a substance use disorder, which is provided by the DSM-5  needs to be examined.  Such criteria include taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than you’re meant to, wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not managing to, spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance, cravings and urges to use the substance, not managing to do what you should at work, home, or school because of substance use, continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships, giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use, using substances, again and again, even when it puts you in danger, continuing to use, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the substance, needing more of the substance to get the effect you want (tolerance), and a development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance.  

I hope this helped you understand what addiction feels like.