Identifying Different Types of Behavioral Addictions

behavioral addictions

Identifying Different Types of Behavioral Addictions

Most people associate the phrase “addiction” with dependence on a substance, such as drugs or alcohol. However, many people are addicted to behaviors, not necessarily substances, and have similar experiences as they would if they were dependent on a substance. Some people argue that “getting high” is an automatic process that occurs during a variety of experiences. In essence, using substances triggers feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain that are also triggered by other reward-based behaviors–both healthy and unhealthy. Urges and cravings to turn to different behavioral addictions come from wanting to feel that way again, rather than because of the behavior itself. 

What are Behavioral Addictions?

There is no single definition for behavioral addictions, as it depends on the type of problem behavior someone is struggling with. However, framing behavioral addictions as a larger umbrella category implies that one’s “drug of choice” or “behavior of choice” can be used interchangeably. Behavioral addictions, or process addictions, follow the same pattern as substance-based addictions, and result in problems in many areas of an individual’s life.

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