Addiction can appear in many forms. Most of the time, we think that substance addiction is the only type of addiction, but withdrawal symptoms cannot characterize certain addiction types. Process addiction or behavioral addiction often begins with the strong urge to do a particular behavior, even if it may result in harm to the person’s emotional or physical well-being. Even though it has nothing to do with drugs or alcohol, process addiction can bring a natural high through rewards and emotion.
Here is everything you need to know about process addiction, its causes, and treatment.
What Is a Process Addiction?
Addiction comes in so many forms, and process addiction is one of the most common, albeit unpopular, forms of addiction. This type of addiction provides an individual with what we call an “emotional high,” which keeps them engaged to that particular behavior regardless if it causes negative results. A person who suffers from process addiction may also feel shame and regret after participating in the activity.
Like substance addiction, people who suffer from process addiction are cannot control themselves when it comes to engaging in certain behaviors. They will also be likely to remain fixated on said behavior and avoid any feeling associated with quitting it.
Types of Process Addictions
There are a lot of process addiction examples such as:
- Work addiction: A type of addiction that occurs when a person works obsessively to eliminate any feeling of guilt caused by not working. It is often characterized by extreme devotion to one’s work, even if it affects their emotional and physical well-being. Commonly this behavior derives from a desire to reach a certain financial or personal standing.
- Internet addiction: The extreme need to use the internet in such a way that it complicates an individual’s daily function. This type of addiction prevents anyone from having even the most basic time management and can result in health consequences.
- Exercise addiction: This type of addiction is an obsession with one’s health and fitness. Although it may seem ordinary and good at first, it can result in eating disorders and obsession over body image. Exercise addiction can also be related to dependency on feel-good endorphins you can get after a good workout.
- Shopping addiction: This is a spending problem that can be highly impulsive and out of control. Shopping addiction is most common in women, and may result in negative financial consequences.
- Gambling addiction: This is a type of process addiction that is most common in men. It is an uncontrollable urge to gamble despite the financial consequences it may bring. Casino slot machines, card games, lottery, and betting on horse races are common activities for gambling addicts.
Symptoms of Process Addiction
To be aware of the signs of process addiction, here are some of its most common symptoms:
- Spending an excessive amount of money on a particular activity.
- Inability to control behavior.
- Failure to quit despite all the physical, emotional, and mental consequences.
- Blatantly ignoring responsibilities.
- Using a specific behavior or activity to cope with difficult emotions.
- Ignoring the magnitude of their problem.
- Developing a tolerance which leads to increased frequency of the behavior.
- Developing mental issues such as anxiety and depression when trying to quit or avoid the behavior.
Causes of Process Addiction
There are a lot of factors that can influence the development and intensity of process addiction. The emotional high or reward pathways stimulated in the brain may cause an individual to engage in a particular activity simply for that experience. Other causes of process addiction are trauma, neglect, deprivation, and stress.
Other causes are to relieve stress and other negative emotions. These behavioral addictions may also result in mental health conditions, which can become complicated as the addiction worsens.
Process Addiction and Substance Abuse
When talking about process addiction, some questions rise, such as how process addictions differ from substance use disorders. An individual’s obsessive urge to partake in a particular behavior is a process addiction, while substance addiction is about a person’s dependence on drugs or alcohol.
Process addiction and substance abuse usually co-occur and can be triggered by the same types of urges. Both are different from the other, and it usually deals with different coping methods for emotional or negative feelings.
Treatment for Process and Substance Addiction
There are many treatment strategies for substance and process addictions, and it often involves professional mediation because a person who suffers from these types of addiction may not be able to overcome it alone. The treatment is usually cognitive behavioral therapy, where the patient learns about the triggers to their addiction and learns coping skills to manage and keep their urges in check.
If you or a loved one are suspected of suffering from a process addiction, Haven House Recovery is one of the most effective recovery centers near Nashville. We provide treatment for process addiction and substance abuse. If you want to know more about the service we provide, you can visit our website or contact us today!