This article discusses gambling, shopping, video gaming, sex and eating addictions. Addiction to a behavior is similar to drug addiction and can be treated.
What is a Process Addiction?
Termed “process” because the addiction is to a type of behavior. Common process addictions are gambling, spending, video gaming, eating and sex. A process addiction is an addiction where no substance is ingested. Like substance addiction engaging in the behavior of choice results in a euphoric high; the addict repeatedly goes back to the behavior and dependence develops. In the past few decades process addictions have begun to be viewed and treated similarly to substance addictions.
How Do You Know if You Have a Process Addiction?
Process addictions are often everyday activitiies like shopping or necessities like eating. Cultural and societal opinions vary on how much is too much. You can asses for yourself if your behavior has become unhealthy.
Is my behavior causing negative consequences in my life? (Some self honesty will be required here.)
Is it causing problems in my relationships?
Is it causing problems financially?
Is it causing problems to my health?
How often do I think about the behavior?
How often do I engage in the behavior?
How often do I feel guilt or remorse after engaging in this behavior?
Has someone expressed concern about my behavior?
When a process addiction occurs the addict cannot resist the compulsive behavior. The addict places the addiction above personal responsibilities and pursues it despite accumulating consequences. The behavior usually gets worse over time as the “high” becomes harder and harder to attain.
How Can I Stop My Process Addiction?
A process addiction can be as debilitating as drug addiction. The vicious cycle is arrested by a combined effort on the part of the addict and their support team. Recovery requires admission of the problem, behavior change, treatment and support.
Admission: You will want to start by admitting to yourself and the people around you that you do, in fact, have a problem and would like to stop.
Change: Change in behavior will alleviate some of the problem. Spend time engaged in constructive activities in place of the addictive behavior.
Seek informed help: treatment facilities, as well as support groups such as Debtors Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, and Overeaters Anonymous.
Process addictions affect millions. 15 million Americans are addicted to sex, and 5.5 million are addicted to gambling. You are not alone, and treatment is available to you whenever you choose to seek it.