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Behavioral Addictions

Behavioral addictions are also known as “process addictions.”

Excessive, compulsive, repetitive activity or behavior distressing to self or others and causing impairment is known as a behavioral or process addiction.

Behavioral addictions activate reward systems in the brain similar to those activated by alcohol or drugs. Frequent intrusive thoughts about the behavior (obsessions) and excessive repetitive behavioral patterns that follow the thoughts (compulsions) energize the behavioral addictions. The most common types of behavioral addiction are:

  • Compulsive gambling
  • Compulsive spending (“shopaholics”)
  • “Workaholic” behavior
  • Internet, video games and other media addictions
  • Excessive collecting or hoarding behavior
  • Compulsive body-building and exercising
  • Sex and love addiction (excessive, dependent romantic attachments; sexual promiscuity; excessive online activity, pornography)

How do you know if the behavior is a true behavioral or process addiction?

In general, if the behavior is persistent and recurrent, and causes problems at home, at work, or in relationships, it’s likely there is a behavioral addiction. The most common signs and symptoms include:

  • A need to increase the time or amount of behavior to achieve the desired effects
  • Restlessness or irritability with attempts to cut down or stop the activity
  • Repeated unsuccessful attempts to control or stop the behavior
  • Preoccupation with the behavior (and planning the next experience)
  • Seeking opportunities for the activity when feeling upset or distressed
  • Continuing the behavior after repeated negative consequences
  • Lying and concealing the activity
  • Loss, or the threat of loss, of a job, career or relationship due to the activity

Our Center specializes in behavioral or process addictions where help and hope is available today.

For additional information about the Advanced Recovery Services at the Relationship Center of South Florida visit Advanced Recovery Services or contact us today to arrange for a consultation with our behavioral addiction specialists.

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