​What is Process and Behavioral Addiction?

The concept of addiction, or dependence, originated in the field of substance abuse, particularly the abuse of alcohol, opiates and cocaine (Courtwright, 1982; Dickson, Derevenksy & Gupta, 2002; Musto, 1973). Substance addictions are usually thought of as a perceived loss of control (Room, 2003, pp. 225 & 228), caused either by qualities of the addictive substance itself, or by some psychological desire or craving the substance inspires or takes advantage of.


The concept of addiction, or dependence, originated in the field of substance abuse, particularly the abuse of alcohol, opiates and cocaine (Courtwright, 1982; Dickson, Derevenksy & Gupta, 2002; Musto, 1973). Substance addictions are usually thought of as a perceived loss of control (Room, 2003, pp. 225 & 228), caused either by qualities of the addictive substance itself, or by some psychological desire or craving the substance inspires or takes advantage of.
Researchers have also seen that the way a substance works can also be applied to other forms of repeated dysfunctional behaviors even when these do not involve ingesting of an “addictive” substance. Thus we speak about people being “addicted’’ to gambling, sex, shopping, work and a variety of other behaviors. An addiction to, or dependence on, such behaviors is termed a “process” addiction because it is a type of behavior(a process) that the person is involved with, not a substance.
We should note that addictions, whether substance or behavior-based, differ from pure obsessions and compulsions in that they are directed toward a goal, and are expected to yield pleasure. By contrast, obsessive and compulsive behaviors are noticeably rigid and stereotyped, and are not performed to produce any particular result (Brown, 1997).
There are different types of Process or Behavioral Addictions for example;
Gambling Addictions is an urge to gamble continuously despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop.
Sex Addiction is a state characterized by compulsive participation or engagement in sexual activity, particularly sexual intercourse, despite negative consequences.
Internet Addiction is defined as any online-related, compulsive behaviour which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one's work environment.
Shopping Addictions defined as the deficiency of impulse control which appears as the eagerness for constantly making new purchases of unnecessary or superfluous things.
Video Game Addiction - Can't get your hands off that game console? Video game addiction is most common in boys and men — and one study even found that as many as 1 in 10 video players between the ages of 8 and 18 are "out-of-control gamers" that the game becomes more like reality than an fantasy.
Plastic Surgery Addiction is a type of body dysmorphic disorder in which a person believes that the next cosmetic procedure or following a series of multiple procedure, will resolve his/her issues related to poor body image.
Food Addiction or Eating Disorder is a behavioural addiction that is characterized by the compulsive consumption of foods, which markedly activate the reward system in humans despite adverse consequences. Meaning they can commonly occur with other mental or behavioural conditions.
Risky Behavioral Addiction are thrill seekers that share many of the same symptoms as drug addicts because it releases the same flood of brain chemicals released by addictive drugs.
Work Addiction is a person who works compulsively. While the term generally implies that the person enjoys their work, it can also alternately imply that they simply feel compelled to do it.
Exercise Addiction is a state characterized by a compulsive engagement in any form of physical exercise, despite negative consequences. It may also involve a state of dependence upon regular exercise which involves the occurrence of severe withdrawal symptoms when the individual is unable to exercise.
Allot of people defend there actions by simply claiming that they are just healthy enthusiast who where unfairly labeled thus behavioral addictions involve “normal” drives that are highly rewarding and reinforces drives toward sex, food, love, and money—which are only considered addictions when the behaviors reseach a certain degree of excess and self-harm.
The self-help, 12-step fellowships emphasize the loss of control and unmanageability of the behavior and simplify the definition to “the use of a substance or activity, for the purpose of lessening pain or augmenting plea- sure, by a person who has lost control over the rate, frequency, or duration of its use, and whose life has become progressively unmanageable as a result” (as quoted in Denizet-Lewis, 2009).
People who suffer with Process Behavioral Addiction can complete an “Addictive Behavioral Questionnaire” that will flag a broad range of problematic behaviors that can be treated by treatment facilities. Recovery from process addiction is a phenomenon. The client will move through a continuum of change, from coming to understanding their problem, to changing their behavior so as to reduce or eliminate it.
Process addiction often appear tandem with substance addiction and will have to be treated as a package. The most popular and effect approach to process addiction is cognitive behavior therapy.
If treatment succeeds in reducing or eliminating a process addiction, there is a risk of “replacement” process addictions arising after therapy if the broad range of potential and actual problem behaviors has not been addressed (Carnes et al., 2005; Freimuth, 2005; (Malat et al., 2010). Follow-up and aftercare can spot early indications of such substitutions and intervene to prevent a new process addiction from taking over.
We at The Way Recovery trust that you found this informing.

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