Fun or Addiction?

When having fun turns into destructive behavior, it may be time to take a personal assessment before it’s too late.

Altering one’s consciousness is a normal part of growing up. It always starts innocently – and often is first seen as playful fun, like young children spinning on the little merry-go-rounds in parks, spinning until they fall down. Later in life, it can manifest as the thrills for adults who enjoy the wildest roller coasters in an amusement park.  Just like spinning or thrill rides, other normal behaviors can become an obsession accidentally, without the individual ever anticipating the long-term effects.

Much like chemical drugs, many common behaviors can alter consciousness. If these behaviors are practiced enough, actual changes in the brain occur. Some behaviors which alter consciousness do an excellent job at making one ‘feel better fast’.  The newest brain-scan imaging techniques are revealing that there are very strong similarities in the brain to the over-involvement with certain behaviors, just as there is to certain drugs, virtually a parallel process.

Since habits are normal behaviors which are essential for the routines of everyday life, it is an invisible line between engaging in a healthy habit or participating in a self-destructive compulsion. The thresholds between healthy and unhealthy behavioral habits are always crossed accidentally, and without malice.

Remember that addiction does not occur from a single event, but rather operates more like a learned skill that continues to get reinforced over time.  And the more you practice the behavior or activity, the stronger it gets. So the question of “Fun or Addiction?” Can often times seem difficult to answer because it is a gradual transition.

Alternatives can help you discreetly assess where you fall along that Fun or Addiction continuum and, if needed, help you to better manage your situation and achieve more independence from the addictive behaviors like:

  • Drug and/or Alcohol Use
  • Sex
  • Pornography
  • Love
  • Internet
  • Gambling
  • Relationships
  • Spending
  • Exercising
  • Television
  • Computer/Video Gaming


Marc F. Kern, Ph.D., aka "The Habit Doc" is a nationally syndicated addiction expert and harm reductionist. To learn more about Dr. Kern's philosophies and read more posts like this one, please visit

For inquiries, contact The Habit Doc Staff directly at 1.888.532.9137. 

Marc Kern