The Difference Between Needs and Wants

Human beings and other organisms require certain things to live healthy lives. Without these things, they are unable to function properly and may even suffer from malfunction or even death. While it is tempting to satisfy all of our wants, it is important to distinguish between needs and wants. The difference is not always clear, but in general, it is safe to say that we have some basic human needs that we simply can’t live without. Here, we will look at some of the most important needs that humans and other organisms have.


A basic need is a necessary condition that motivates people to find alternatives. The need can be internal, such as a need for food or a desire for affection. Regardless of the source of this need, it motivates people to look for options. While need and drive are often used interchangeably, it is useful to know that they are not the same thing. To better understand how each term functions, let’s examine its different definitions.

The most common forms of need include need in the present tense and need in the past tense. These words are commonly used in conditional clauses, negations, and questions. The auxiliary form of need also occurs in the present tense. This form is more common in the British Isles, particularly Scotland. The verb need is followed by a past participle in present tense questions. There is no auxiliary form for need, so we can only use it when there is no other word that expresses the need.

In addition to these two types of needs, there are also ‘objective needs’ that exist. For example, a health ‘hot line’ is a need that is connected with personal and environmental conditions. Similarly, seat belt rules and smoke-free zones are ‘objective needs’. According to Doyal and Gough, a need is anything that makes life better. However, the latter is a more conceptually demanding type of need, which explains why it is arguably the most important need.

A ‘need’ is a desire that can trigger a change in healthcare services. The concept of need is a general term that can be applied to both wants and needs. For example, a need for health care services can be an expression of the need for optimal health for an individual. A ‘want’ can be an individual’s desire. If it’s not, it’s a wish. A ‘want’ is a ‘want’.

The concept of ‘need’ is a broad and complex term, which can vary greatly among different cultures. The basic concept of a need is a requirement for something, a need for respect, a need for dignity, or a need for safety. The idea of a need can also be a need for social status. While these need-related needs are purely psychological, they are often related to physical, emotional, or social needs.