Most people understand addiction when it comes to dependence on substances such as alcohol, nicotine, illegal drugs, and even prescription drugs, but it is difficult for them to understand the concept of addictive behavior.
However, it is also possible to develop behavioral addiction. In fact, people can indulge in everything from gambling to sex to the Internet.
Some activities are so normal that it is hard to believe that people will become addicted to them. However, the addiction cycle can still be taken over, making daily life a continuous struggle. People may look for more and more opportunities to participate in this behavior. The desire to experience the “climax” from the behavior becomes so strong that the individual continues to engage in the activity despite the negative consequences.
In some cases, when people are unable to participate in activities, they also withdraw, including negative emotions and other symptoms.
What is behavioral addiction?
Although experts disagree on whether behavioral addiction is a “real” addiction, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) Explicitly include behavior in the addiction category. But gambling disorder is the only officially recognized behavioral addiction.
Outside the fields of professional psychiatry and psychology, the media has accepted the concept of behavioral addiction, such as sex addiction and shopping addiction, and classified other behaviors, such as self-harm, self-harm, and excessive plastic surgery as “addiction.” . ”
Behavioral addictions (also called process addictions) follow the same pattern as substance addictions, and they cause problems in many aspects of a person’s life.
Behavioral addiction and substance addiction have similar effects on interpersonal relationships. The latter is often overlooked and favors addictive behaviors, undermines trust, and puts pressure on partners and other family members to cover up and make up for the difficulties caused by addiction.
Even if you cannot find a service that specializes in behavioral addiction, a psychiatrist or psychologist can still help you change problem behaviors, improve relationships, and cope without addiction.
You have signs of behavioral addiction
Understanding the addiction process and danger signs can help you distinguish between addictive behaviors, problematic behaviors that are not addiction, and normal behaviors that are not problematic.
Red flags include:
- Spend most of the time engaged in behavior, thinking about or arranging to engage in behavior, or recovering from influence
- Relying on behavior to cope with emotions and “feeling normal”
- Continue regardless of physical and/or mental harm
- It’s hard to cut even though I want to stop
- Ignore work, school or family and engage in this behavior more frequently
- Withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop (for example, depression or irritability)
- Minimize or hide the scope of the problem
Although most of these addictions are not recognized by DSM-5 (the main diagnostic guide for mental health professionals), many healthcare providers consider these to be treatable diseases.
Some common behavioral addictions include:
Even if it is not specifically labeled as an addiction, compulsive behavior can cause real problems in a person’s life, functions, and relationships. These behaviors can also cause considerable pain and are difficult to change, even if the person wants to stop.
Often, people with behavioral addictions will eventually get tired of the loss their behavior brings to their lives and the lives of those around them. They may also suffer seemingly unbearable losses, such as money problems or relationship problems. What once seemed exciting and fulfilling becomes an embarrassing burden.
If the behavior causes distress and disrupts your life, please consult your doctor or mental health care professional.
Fortunately, for those living with behavioral addiction, therapies that have been developed to treat substance dependence have also been successfully used to treat behavioral addiction. Addiction professionals are developing the ability to treat a range of addictions, and there are clinics specializing in the treatment of behavioral addictions.
You can also benefit from psychiatrists or psychologists who are good at helping people overcome emotional difficulties and change their lives.
Treatment may include:
Acknowledging to yourself (not to mention others) that you have a problem can be difficult, and it can be even more difficult if you know little about the problem and friends and family may not take it seriously. If you are not ready to ask for help, understanding the stages of change will help you be more gentle with yourself.
If you feel that you do not want to seek help to overcome your behavioral addiction at this time, focus on making sure that your behavior does not harm you or the people around you. Even if you don’t want to tell others about your problem, try not to lie to the people closest to you.
Self-help can be an important first step. Consider learning more about this behavior and some of the ways you can manage it.
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Many people live with behavioral addictions, and although they can cause serious damage to your life, it is possible to recover. When you are ready to take the next step, consult your doctor.