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What is Behavioural Addiction

What is Behavioural Addiction

what is Behavioural addiction

What is Behavioural Addiction

What is ‘Behavioural Addiction? Behavioural addiction is a type of addiction characterised by an individual’s compulsive engagement in a certain behaviour despite negative consequences. Unlike substance addiction, behavioural addiction does not involve the ingestion of drugs or alcohol, but rather, it centres around a particular activity or behaviour that provides a sense of pleasure or reward.

Common types of behavioural addictions include gambling addiction, internet addiction, gaming addiction, sex addiction, shopping addiction, and exercise addiction, among others.

Symptoms of Behavioural Addiction

The symptoms of behavioural addiction can vary depending on the type of addiction, but typically include:

  • Loss of control over the behaviour, despite attempts to stop or reduce it
  • Spending an excessive amount of time engaging in the behaviour
  • Preoccupation with the behaviour, even when not engaging in it
  • Neglecting other responsibilities and activities due to the behaviour
  • Continued engagement in the behaviour despite negative consequences
  • Withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop the behaviour
  • Mood swings, irritability, and anxiety when unable to engage in the behaviour

Effects of Behavioural Addiction

Behavioural addiction can have severe negative consequences on an individual’s life, including damage to relationships, financial problems, and negative impacts on mental and physical health.

For example, gambling addiction can lead to financial ruin and strained relationships with family and friends, while internet addiction can lead to social isolation and neglect of other responsibilities. Sex addiction can lead to risky sexual behaviour and the spread of sexually transmitted infections, while shopping addiction can lead to debt and financial instability.

Treatment for Behavioural Addiction

Treatment for behavioural addiction typically involves a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and support groups. The goal of treatment is to help individuals regain control over their behaviour and develop healthy coping strategies to manage cravings and triggers.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a common type of psychotherapy used to treat behavioural addiction. CBT helps individuals identify and change negative patterns of thought and behaviour that contribute to their addiction, and develop healthy coping strategies to manage stress and triggers.

Support groups, such as Gamblers Anonymous or Sex Addicts Anonymous, can also provide a supportive environment for individuals struggling with behavioural addiction to share their experiences and receive guidance and support from others who have gone through similar struggles.

Final Thoughts

Behavioural addiction is a serious and complex condition that can have severe negative consequences on an individual’s life. It is important to seek help from qualified mental health professionals if you or someone you know is struggling with behavioural addiction. With the right treatment and support, individuals with behavioural addiction can recover and regain control over their lives.

The term ‘addiction’ is sometimes applied to compulsions that are not substance or alcohol related. This can include problems such as gambling, anorexia, excessive shopping, exercise, sexual addiction and computer addiction. In these kinds of common usages, the term ‘addiction’ is used to describe a recurring and damaging compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity.

How is a behavioural addiction similar to a substance behavioural addiction?

In actuality the ‘process’ of all addictions are the same and a substance is no different than a behaviour. There must be something reinforcing, it must make you feel better for you to do it again. There is also an emotional component or people will not return to it. People do not become addicted to an behaviour or particular food type because it does not make them feel better. So a process or a behaviour is just as addicting as a substance because it has the ability to change the way the person feels or experiences something.

What is an “addictive personality”?

The topic of ‘addictive personality’ is controversial in the therapy world. There is no research to show that there is a specific addictive personality type. However, the reality is there are some people that are looking for good feelings all the time. These people organise and structure their time and life around the desire for good feelings. For some people this extends to not thinking about consequences such a dept and separation of relationships. 

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