Behavioral Addictions, sometimes called Process Addictions, are compulsions to engage in recurring non-drug or alcohol related behavior. These behaviors often provide short term rewards despite the adverse long term consequences of engaging in the behavior.
Examples of Behavioral Addictions are:
- Gambling Addiction
- Internet/Gaming Addiction
- Hyper Sexuality
- Excessive Tanning
- Compulsive Buying
- Food Addiction
Many of these behaviors fall into the impulsive-compulsive spectrum. Engaging in these behaviors causes dopamine to be released in great quantities giving a feeling of euphoria and simulates chemical substance abuse. Most people can engage in gambling, sexual activity or shopping without the strong compulsion to engage in the activities to the point of adverse consequences. So why do some people develop Behavior Addictions?
Scientists are not 100% certain but it is believed that a combination of genetics, biology, environment, and certain stress or trauma can trigger the desire to act on these behaviors in a compulsive and destructive manner.
Often times, behavioral addictions are co-occurring with drug and alcohol addictions. The gambling addict often engages in alcohol abuse and hyper sexual behavior is often paired with drug use. It is not uncommon to find a more than one addictive behavior in an addict.
Dual Diagnosis is a term often used in the mental health and addiction field. Dual Diagnosis refers to co-occurring drug or alcohol addiction combined with one or more mental illness disorder(s).
Examples of Dual Diagnosis can include:
- Substance abuse disorder + Mental illness
- Substance abuse disorder + Personality disorder
- Substance abuse disorder + Personality disorder + Substance induced disorders including acute psychosis, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses resulting from drug or alcohol abuse or withdrawal.
Treating a singular substance addiction, behavioral addiction, or mental illness disorder on it’s own, when a Dual Diagnosis or Co-occurring Disorder is known, often leads to failure in the recovery process. Finding the right treatment facility, with the proper support staff and experience to handle the various mental illness disorders that often accompany substance and behavioral addictions, is key to recovery.
If you or a loved one is engaging in behaviors that are obsessive, distract from school, work, or responsibilities, interfere with family or friends, and are draining your resources, it may be time to seek professional help. Call 800-601-0759 or fill out the contact form below.