What are Behavioral Addictions and How are they Like Substance Addictions?
Addictions of any kind are harmful and can present many challenges to the individuals and families affected by them. When it comes to addiction, substance abuse is not the only form that it takes, but behavioral addictions also present a real threat.
What is a Behavioral Addiction?
A behavioral addiction can be defined as any action or activity that an individual comes to rely on as a means of escaping or coping with stress. What starts out as a habit may then evolve into an addiction where the individual becomes dependent on the activity.
Examples of this are gambling, excessive shopping, internet addiction, and more. If you believe that you or a loved one are struggling with a behavioral addiction, call 800-430-1407Who Answers? to learn more and to find help.
Similarities Between the Addictions
According to NCBI, behavioral and substance addictions share many similarities due to the way that they rely on the feeling the individual experiences rather than the substance or action itself. While drugs chemically alter the brain, behavioral addictions such as gambling, shopping, and internet addiction can all provide the individual with feelings of temporary satisfaction or escape.
The issue changes from a habit to an addiction when the person becomes dependent on this behavior or experience, and all other methods of coping with stress begin to lose their appeal as a result.
How Can a Behavioral Addiction Harm You?
There are multiple ways in which a behavioral addiction can harm not only you, but also your family, friends and coworkers. Financially, these addictions can take a toll as money that should have been spent on necessities or bills instead is put towards these unproductive activities.
Behavioral addictions can also negatively impact marriages and any other close relationships, as your time, money, and thoughts are all directed to the activity. By spending all of your extra time with your addiction and creating financial burdens, you also create tension within your relationships that can hurt everyone involved.
How Can You Overcome a Behavioral Addiction?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the approaches to treating behavioral addictions are often similar to substance addiction treatments. This approach may involve individual and group therapy sessions in order to provide the addict with support and accountability throughout the recovery process.
It is important to retrain the individual’s brain to no longer have that dependence on the activity that they had become addicted to, so this may take extensive therapeutic exercises and counseling in order to overcome it.
Professionals can work with the addict’s family to find the best pathway to recovery, and find alternative ways in which the addict can cope that won’t harm them or their family.
If you or a loved one are struggling with any form of addiction, call 800-430-1407Who Answers? to speak with a specialist who can answer any of your questions or concerns. You don’t have to walk through this journey alone, so instead it is important to find support and professional care for the best recovery results and overall well-being.