A process addiction, also known as a behavioral addiction, is defined as a compulsion to engage consistently in an activity despite the negative consequences related to that behavior. The critical difference between process addiction and other types of addiction is the lack of physical dependence on a substance. The compulsive behavior links them both as addictions. Process addictions require treatment, attention, and care, just like any other addiction.
Types of Addiction
Addiction falls into two categories: substance addiction and process addiction. The critical difference is that process addictions don’t involve a physical dependence on a substance like alcohol or heroin. Physical dependence related to substance addiction shows up clearest in withdrawal symptoms. For instance, people struggling with alcohol addiction begin to experience tremors, a racing pulse, and sweating within hours of stopping alcohol use.
On the other hand, process addictions solely involve psychological dependence. That means stopping the behavior associated with the addiction doesn’t result in physical withdrawal symptoms. However, process addictions often rewire the brain’s reward system, just like a substance addiction.
Trying to stop behavior related to a process addiction causes mental turmoil to drive people to engage in the behavior to calm the brain. This disturbance results in a range of therapeutic methods being necessary for recovery.
Types of Process Addictions
The most common process addictions include:
- Technology, such as social media or video games
Overlap between the categories above can occur. For instance, someone’s gambling addiction could look like them playing poker online or conducting excessive shopping online. In those cases, it’s helpful to look for the clear root instead of only the thing that enables the behavior. We assist in identifying the cause of the addiction being ultimately related to gambling or shopping and not technology itself. Technology merely becomes the route through which they are expressing their addiction to gambling or shopping.
After seeing the list, you may be wondering what qualifies any of those as addictions. After all, doesn’t everyone engage in some or all of those behaviors at some point? You can’t live without eating food or take care of most everyday needs without doing at least some shopping. In addition, technology usage is practically a requirement in today’s world.
When Normal Behavior Crosses Into Addiction
Four considerations play into whether or not one of the behaviors discussed above is an addiction. Someone’s behavior can be labeled a process addiction when the following things become true:
- Mental or physical health issues appear as a result of the behavior or their inability to cease the behavior.
- Relational or workplace issues crop up due to the behavior’s dominance in someone’s life.
- Negative consequences occur due to the behavior, such as a shopping addiction causing someone to rack up thousands of dollars in credit card debt that puts them in financial jeopardy.
- Stopping or avoiding the behavior becomes impossible despite the increasingly negative consequences.
Fortunately, there are treatment options available for process addictions, just as there are for substance use disorders.
Seek Treatment at Georgia Addiction Treatment Center
Individual therapy is a primary intervention for people in recovery from a process addiction. This method prioritizes intensive, one-on-one sessions that specifically address behavioral issues. Our expert therapists listen and provide judgment-free support to get you back to your best.
Georgia Addiction Treatment Center’s individual therapy program prioritizes goal setting with each client. Possible outcomes and benefits of individual therapy include:
- Improved relationships
- Improved communication skills
- The ability to manage moods and avoid destructive behavior
- Coping strategies and skills for dealing with stress, anger, and other negative issues without falling back into addictive behavior
Beating your process addiction is possible. Call us today at 833.641.0661 and reclaim the life you deserve.