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Behavioral Addictions

Addiction can occur in many forms. It is often assumed that physical dependence, characterized by withdrawal symptoms, is required in order for someone to be diagnosed with an addiction disorder. The fact is that behavioral addictions can occur with all the negative consequences in a person’s life minus the physical issues faced by people who compulsively engage in drug and alcohol abuse.

It is compulsive nature of the behavior that is often indicative of a behavioral addiction, or process addiction, in an individual. The compulsion to continually engage in an activity or behavior despite the negative impact on the person’s ability to remain mentally, emotional, and/or physically healthy and functional in the home and community defines behavioral addiction. The person may find the behavior rewarding psychologically or get a “high” while engaged in the activity but may later feel guilt, remorse, or even feel overwhelmed by the consequences of that continued choice. Unfortunately, as is common for all who struggle with addiction, people living with behavioral addictions are unable to stop engaging in the behavior for any length of time without treatment and intervention.

Types of Behavioral Addictions

  • Gambling Addiction

  • Gaming Addiction

  • Shopping Addiction

  • Work Addictions

  • Food Addiction

  • Exercise Addiction

  • Sex Addiction

  • Internet Addiction

  • Love and Relationship Addiction

  • Social Media Addiction

Though almost everyone engages in some of the activities above to a certain degree,  it is not termed an addiction until the following is true:

  • The person struggles with mental or physical health issues as a consequence of the behavior and/or the inability to stop.

  • The person has difficulties in significant relationships at home and, in some cases, at work because the behavior is so disruptive.

  • The person experiences other negative consequences that are directly caused by continued, extreme, or chronic engagement in the behavior. For example, a person with a gambling addiction may gamble away the house, lose a job, and be forced into bankruptcy due to the extreme nature of the gambling.

  • The person is unable to stop engaging in the behavior despite these consequences.

Therapies Commonly Used in a Client's Individualized Treatment Plan

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [CBT]

  • Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing [EMDR]

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy [DBT]

  • Internal Family System [IFS]

  • Motivational Interviewing

  • Mindfulness

  • Family Thearpy

  • Group Therapy

  • 12 Step Study

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