What are Behavioral Addictions?
What exactly is the behavioral addictions definition? A behavioral addiction is characterized by behaviors that resemble addiction but without the ingestion of a substance. These are currently debated by some experts, but these are very real syndromes.
Some examples include gambling, sex, internet use, shopping, etc. The behaviors resemble addiction to compulsive actions that occur even when facing dire consequences. Continuing damaging or risky behaviors with a sense of diminished control can characterize both a physical addiction and behavioral addiction.
Recognizing a behavioral addiction can be challenging. If something that used to be fun has become a burden, you may be addicted to the behavior. At Resurgence, treatment is available and a supportive environment that understands a behavioral addiction is possible.
The brain can feel addicted to behaviors, drugs, or alcohol. These behaviors induce the same dopamine rush in the reward center of the brain as drugs and alcohol. This same cycle of addiction can lead a behavioral addiction to slowly take over your life.
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Understanding Behavioral Addictions
Some people can gamble and never have the desire to gamble again regardless of if they won or lost. Other people have a higher risk of addiction and may find themselves unable to stop gambling – leading to gambling addiction. A behavior addiction can be characterized by:
- Feelings of joy and pleasure when engaging in the behavior
- Extreme anticipatory happiness when starting the behavior
- A desire to continue the behavior over and over again.
You may crave to participate in the behavior and may think about it frequently until you can participate. An addiction to the internet is a recognized behavioral addiction. It can be extremely difficult to diagnose this, however, since we often need to use the internet in our daily lives.
The same holds true for gaming. Behavioral addiction can appear harmless since many of the activities are legal, and most people participate in them regularly. Behavioral Addiction can look similar to other addictions, such as drug and alcohol addiction, based on specific behaviors.
Some are listed below:
- Dishonesty around the activity
- Denying any problems
- Lack of self-care
- Disagreement with loved ones around your use of the activity
- Physical manifestations around repetitively repeating the activity
- Engaging in the activity even when serious consequences may result
Completing the behavior may provide temporary feelings of euphoria, but those feelings eventually fade, and the cycle of addiction continues. Behavioral addictions may require professional support to reclaim your life.
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Effects of Addictions
Similar to other physical addictions, behavioral addictions can result in devastating consequences. Prioritizing the behavior over loved ones, employment, and personal well-being are hallmarks of mental addiction to the behavior. As a result of addiction, you may have found yourself deep in debt, in failed relationships, unemployed, or in crisis.
A behavioral addictions definition can be hard to define for the average individual. Sometimes, explaining a behavioral addiction can be difficult for the person experiencing it. Some have never heard about behavioral addiction and, because it is not a physical addiction, may not take it seriously.
Data has shown that those who experience behavioral addiction are at an increased risk of developing a physical addiction. Recognizing and treating behavioral addiction early can potentially help prevent future addictions.
Mental Illness and Behavioral Addictions
Similar to a physical addiction to a substance, financial, and marital troubles are commonly seen in behavioral addictions. Certain personality characteristics are seen in individuals with behavioral addictions. In general, those with high impulsivity and low-risk avoidance are susceptible to physical and behavioral addiction. Well-designed studies on behavioral addictions are needed, but some clear associations have been seen between concurrent behavioral and physical addictions.
It is estimated that 30-60% of behavioral addictions also have an ongoing substance use addiction. In addition, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorder have been reported in high numbers in behavioral addiction patients.
In many people, behavioral addiction can be a form of self-medicating to treat an underlying issue. Rather than seeking help for a problem, you may have tried using behaviors to cope with challenges or hardships. Treating addiction and illness at the same time has been proven to be more effective than treating each individual.
At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we look for all causes of addiction and any underlying mental health issues. Improving coping skills and anxiety will give new tools for recovery and stability. Addiction is a universal problem. Even if things seem fine to outside observers, addiction can still be present. It can happen in all families and all socioeconomic situations.
At Resurgence, we are familiar with behavioral addiction withdrawal and the complicated mental health issues that may also be present. We are here to help unravel the confusing picture of addiction, withdrawal, and untreated mental health issues.
Treatment of Behavioral Addictions
If you or a loved one is suffering from a behavioral addiction, we are here to help. At Resurgence Behavioral Health Center, we use an integrated approach to heal and recover. We have 20 years of experience breaking the cycle of addiction and shame. Behavioral addiction treatment is not a short process, but it is possible.
Simply stopping the behavior is not recovery. Learning about behavioral addiction, treating underlying issues, and building healthy coping mechanisms are the tools we teach at Resurgence. Learning what the behavioral addictions definition is is critical too. We will work with you to determine your individual goals for treatment and customize treatment to your needs.
Behavioral addiction requires a team approach including counseling, therapy, and inpatient treatment with a transition to outpatient treatment. Even if there is no physical withdrawal with a behavioral addiction, there is still mental withdrawal from stopping the behavior. We are here to walk through this process with you.
Even if the situation appears hopeless or there is resistance to change, treatment can still be effective. Are you tired? Tired of the lies and continuous addiction issues? We can help.
Do you want treatment but are worried about how you can pay for it? We have a team of financial professionals who provide free insurance verification. We will work with you to move forward with the treatment in a way that works for your financial situation.
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How to Get Help
Resurgence Behavioral Health is available to answer questions or discuss options with you. We have a team of professionals who are dedicated to understanding and healing your addiction. We give hope back to those who are searching for recovery and stability.