When most people think of addiction, they think of physical dependence characterized by withdrawal symptoms. While physical addiction to drugs and alcohol and quite common, there are also a multitude of behavioral or process addictions, too. Process addictions occur when an individual has a compulsion to engage in a particular behavior or activity despite negative consequences.
Process addictions take away a person’s ability to maintain physical and mental health. They may find the behaviors rewarding and even feel a “high”. They may later feel remorse, guilt, or overwhelmed by the consequences. They are unable to stop engaging in the behavior without intervention and treatment.
There are a wide variety of process addictions. Some of them are:
- Gambling addiction. Those dealing with a gambling addiction often are in financial duress. They may be facing foreclosure, bankruptcy, divorce, and career loss. This addiction has four primary symptoms that include:
o Placing bets more and more frequently
o Betting more than originally intended
o “Chasing” losses by continually betting beyond the ability to pay
o Feeling irritable or aggressive when unable to gamble or when losing
o Being preoccupied with gambling
- Food addiction. These individuals cannot control their compulsive drive to eat. They often crave fat, sugar, and processed carbohydrates. They may be obese or not. They often have self-esteem issues.
- Sex addiction. This may include excessive masturbation, cybersex, pornography use, sexual behavior with consenting adults, telephone sex, strip club visitation and other behaviors.
- Video game addiction. This addiction is becoming more and more common. The thrill of taking on another identity and diving into a life of fantasy can be a welcomed escape from reality. If you are missing meals, disconnecting from friends and family, or missing work to play, it’s time for help.
- Work addiction. It is characterized by the compulsion or uncontrollable need to work incessantly. Those dealing with work addiction often have additional underlying mental health issues such as OCD, depression, anxiety, or ADHD.
- Spending addiction. Compulsive spending is difficult to stop despite negative consequences like maxed out credit cards or feeling the need to lie to a partner. The “high” feeling when shopping can be a way to deal with feelings of powerlessness or overwhelm.
- Internet addiction. Whether it’s compulsively surfing the web, shopping, online gambling, or perusing social media, if there is a compulsion, you may have crossed over to addiction.
Many in recovery swap their substance abuse addiction for process addictions. Awareness is the first step. If you or someone you love have a process addiction, treatment is available. Call today.
There is freedom in recovery. Design For Change is changing lives one step at a time through a multifaceted treatment program and recovery services. Our 12 step based treatment programs offer a refuge from recovery bringing together families in the hope of sobriety. Call us today for information: (877) 267-3646