For the most part, when people think about addictions, they tend to think about drugs and alcohol. They may immediately imagine alcohol, cocaine, meth, or heroin upon hearing the word addiction. However, there are a handful of addictions that are behaviors, not substances. And that’s what this article series will cover – how a behavioral addiction can be just as difficult as an addiction to drugs or alcohol.  This article is the first of two that will review types of behavioral addictions and why they require addiction treatment.

Work, sex, and gambling are just a few types of behavioral addictions.  Similar to drugs and alcohol, a person develops a habitual dependence upon certain feelings of euphoria or satisfaction. But with behavioral addictions, that sense of euphoria comes from the behavior itself. For instance, with gambling, a person can become so hooked on winning that they gamble away their earnings to the point that they can’t pay rent, put food on the table, or pay their bills. And with a sexual addiction, a person may be at risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases or becoming pregnant unexpectedly. As mentioned earlier, behavioral addictions can bring just as much hardship into a person’s life as an addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Below is a partial list of various types of behavioral addictions. You’ll find more types of behavioral addictions in part two of this article series.

  • Gambling – Gambling can be fun. But those who gamble addictively have become hooked on the feeling of winning. the money, and the pleasure that come with feeling rich. However, when someone develops an unhealthy habit of gambling, it can cause severe financial concern. And experts have found that those who develop an addiction to gambling tend to also have anxiety disorders.
  • Eating – Foods can provide comfort in certain ways. People turn to food for emotional release, stress, or to reward themselves. However, at times, eating can become dysfunctional. A person can develop a mental illness with regard to food, such as Bulimia or Anorexia Nervosa.
  • Internet – There are certain highs that can come with browsing the Internet. For instance, the anticipation of receiving email, the excitement of meeting someone new in a chat room, and the high that can come with online socializing can slowly lead to an addiction. Internet addiction is an emerging issue around the world, but experts already see this as a form of mental illness.
  • Sex – The pleasure of sexual activity can become the source of addiction. However, it can also lead to sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
  • Work – Although work and productivity are praised in our society, a person can work so much that it becomes unhealthy. If a person begins to neglect other responsibilities in life, they may also be impairing their relationships, affecting their mental health, and/or ignoring their physical health. This is a sign of overworking and possibly being addicted to work.

This is a list of addictions that are rooted in a behavior, versus a drug or alcohol. Yet, regardless of the type of addiction, common with all addictions is the fact that blame and denial are almost always playing a role. Once a person recognizes that they themselves need to seek addiction treatment and create change in their life, then a pattern of healing can begin.

If you recognize any of the above addictions in your own life, look for addiction treatment today.

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