What Are Behavioral and Process Addictions?

young women having process and behavioral addiction therapy session

While most addictions are associated with substances, there are addictions that people can suffer from that are not substance-based. These addictions, known as behavioral addiction or process addiction, revolve around a person’s strong impulse to partake in a particular behavior or process. They may even continue to do so, knowing that it can result in negative consequences because they simply cannot stop. Much in the way someone who is addicted to pills or alcohol would. Let’s take a deeper look at what behavioral and process addictions are, the different types, and how you can get help for your behavioral and process addictions today.

behavioral addiction recoveryWhat Is Behavioral Addiction?

Also referred to as a process addiction, behavioral addiction is a type of mental disorder that centers around a person’s obsession. Often at a dangerous level, with a certain behavior or process even when they know they shouldn’t be doing it.

Someone who is suffering from substance addiction is chasing the high that their substance of abuse provides them. While someone suffering from behavioral or process addiction gets their “high” off performing the activity that they have found themself addicted to. In fact, just like with substance abuse, someone suffering from behavioral addiction will continue to partake in their behavior even when they know they shouldn’t and might even feel shame and remorse after. 

Some other common similarities between substance addiction and process addiction include:

  • Going to great lengths to continue their addiction
  • Extreme fixation on the addiction
  • Ignoring the potential adverse outcomes associated with the addiction

What Causes These Types of Behavioral Addictions?

Various factors can lead to the development of process addiction, including environmental, societal, and even genetic factors. In the same way that substances such as drugs and alcohol can make a person feel good and even give them a “high,” these behaviors and processes can do the same. The behavior or process that they find themselves addicted to triggers their reward pathways in the brain, thus reinforcing that it’s something that they should continue doing, much in the same way the brain would react to certain types of drugs or alcohol. 

Also, much in the same way that people turn to drugs or alcohol, people might turn to these behaviors or processes as a way to escape something negative happening in their life. While it might start out as an outlet to work through some of their feelings, it can develop into a full-blown obsession or even an addiction. 

What Are Some Common Types of Behavioral Addictions?

Many people may suffer from process or behavioral addictions and not even realize it since they aren’t typically viewed in the negative light that drug and alcohol addiction is. In fact, people might view their addiction as simply a personality trait or a dedication to a particular activity or hobby. While there can be a fine line between dedication and addiction, oftentimes, that line gets crossed without the person or even the people around them even realizing it.

 What are process addictions?

  • Work addiction
  • Shopping addiction
  • Exercise addiction
  • Video game addiction
  • Porn addiction
  • Gambling addiction
  • Sex addiction 
  • Phone addiction
  • Internet addiction
  • Food addiction

recovering from process addictionWhat Are Some of the Signs and Symptoms of Process Addiction?

So, how do you know if you or someone you know is just really passionate about one of these activities or if they are actually addicted to them? Well, let’s answer that question by looking at some of the potential signs and symptoms of a behavioral or process addiction. 

  • A very low ability to control the behavior
  • Spending a lot of time obsessing about or partaking in the behavior
  • Continuing to do the behavior despite the negative consequences of said behavior
  • Trying to stop and being unsuccessful 
  • Using the behavior as a way to ignore other issues
  • Ignoring responsibilities in favor of said behavior
  • Ignoring or downplaying you have a problem
  • Experiencing withdrawal when not doing the behavior
  • Building up a tolerance to said behavior to the point where you have to do it at unhealthy levels 
  • Developing other mental health issues as a result of the behavior
  • Developing a substance addiction as a result of the behavior

If any of these signs describe you or someone you know, it’s important to seek help right away. When left untreated, behavioral addiction can lead to significant and serious mental health disorders and even a substance abuse issue. 

How Can I Get Treatment For Process Addiction?

Much in the same way people seek treatment for substance abuse issues, there are treatment options available for process and behavioral addiction as well. One of the most successful and popular treatment methods for addressing this kind of disorder is addiction therapy and psychotherapy.

The most popular type of psychotherapy performed at treatment facilities such as Lifetime Recovery is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). During CBT, individuals learn what led to their addiction in the first palace. This therapy approach also helps people identify, manage, and transform negative triggers. 

They also learn how to identify possible triggers and deal with them more healthily. For those suffering from both a process and a substance addiction, CBT can be a great way to treat both addictions at the same time due to the fact that, in many cases, both addictions have similar triggers

Are You Suffering From Behavioral Addiction?

While many behavioral addictions aren’t viewed in the same light as substance addiction, it doesn’t make them any less dangerous when left untreated. At Lifetime Recovery, we know how to handle and treat addiction, whether mental, physical, or substance-related. 

We are proud to offer a wide variety of treatment methods to address all types of addictions. Are you or someone you know is suffering from a behavioral or process addiction? Could you benefit from professional treatment? If so, please call us today here at Lifetime Recovery. We want to make sure that our clients go on to live a happy, healthy, and sober life.

Treating mental health and trauma

Our behavioral health and substance abuse treatment experts also treat co-occurring disorders/dual diagnoses (including trauma), and we are one of the few alcohol and drug rehab centers offering gambling addiction treatment.