Process Addictions: All You Need to Know




Process addictions involve addiction to rewarding behavior, even if it can eventually lead to a wide range of negative effects.

Not all addictions involve substances like drugs and alcohol. There are addictions that involve activities, such as sex, gambling, eating, or even shopping. These are collectively known as process addictions.


What are process addictions?

Also known as behavioral addictions, process addictions involve an uncontrollable compulsion to perform an action despite negative consequences. This compulsion can develop into dependence, as the behavior becomes their way of dealing with life or a way to function.

The parts of the brain, the reward circuitry, which lights up when stimulated by addictive drugs, are also affected when one has a behavioral addiction. In fact, gambling and other similar process addictions affect the brain the same way that substance addiction does. This is because both kinds of addictions flood the brain with the pleasure neurotransmitter known as dopamine.

This feeling of pleasure, and even euphoria, can cause you to seek out the activities associated with the sensation even more. Over time, with repetition and regularity, you will begin to seek out the experiences even more, increasing your tolerance to the behavior.

However, it’s important to note that the disease of addiction is already present in people’s brain circuitry. There are just more people who have a tendency to develop it more than others. This is why there are people who drink regularly but not become addicted. There are also those who engage in sex, gambling, shopping, video games, or eating without becoming addicted to these. Still, it’s better to be vigilant of the signs if people you know could be developing process addictions or even substance addictions.

Most common process addictions

The most common process addictions are in fact socially acceptable. They even include our most primal or most human impulses: eating and sex.

Activities such as gambling are on a high as more people become addicted to it. There are also those who are addicted to shopping, especially online. There are also those who are addicted to social media and the internet.

Since these process addictions are activities, the problem can be hard to spot. There are no drugs or paraphernalia to alert you or your loved ones.

Symptoms of process addictions

You can look out for these signs:

  • hiding the behavior
  • lying
  • constant preoccupation on the behavior
  • spending a lot of time thinking about or planning the next instance of doing the behavior
  • irritability when unable to do the activity
  • anxiety
  • cravings to do the activity or process
  • denial
  • guilt feelings, especially afterwards
  • inability to be interested in anything else other than the activity
  • family, work, health, and financial problems as a result of doing the activity
  • needing to do the activity for longer or more frequently

Addiction is, in other words, exhibited by a loss of control even if the activity can cause negative repercussions.

Treatment for Process Addictions

Process addictions can be treated the same way as substance addictions, using different approaches to rehab treatment.

You can call us at Bridges of Hope to learn more about your treatment options: 09175098826.


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