Behaviors Can Be Addictive Too – Part Two

Posted by | Co-Occurring Disorders & Mental Health, Wellness | April 19, 2016

This article is the last of a two-part series on types of behavioral addictions and what to do about them.  Similar to drugs and alcohol, a person can develop a habitual dependence upon certain feelings of euphoria or satisfaction. But with behavioral addictions, those feelings of euphoria come from a behavior. As you can imagine, some behaviors that can make a person feel good include

  • –gambling
  • –sex
  • –eating
  • –work/achievement

 

These behavioral addictions were discussed in the first part of this series in addition to Internet addiction. The following are five more types of behavioral addictions not explored in the first article:

Shopping – This kind of addiction is known as omniomania. Sadly, of all the addictions, it is the most reinforced by the media, advertising, billboards, and consumerism in general. About 6% of the U.S. population has a shopping addiction, which usually begins in late adolescence. A shopping addiction becomes the main way a person might be coping with stress to the point when it becomes excessive, severely affecting finances, relationships, and functioning.

Video Gaming – Playing video games can also be incredibly pleasurable. Just like gambling where there is a high that comes with winning (or almost winning), those moments of pleasure can become addictive. Currently, gaming addiction is recognized as an official diagnosis. However, it does not have a listing in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Exercising – When a person exercises or works out, dopamine is released in the brain, and those neurotransmitters produce good feelings. To some, those good feelings can be felt as euphoric. When a person gets hooked on the feeling that exercise brings (not to mention the way they look which can also bring positive feelings), then it’s possible for an addiction to set in.

Tanning – Although this might sound like an odd addiction, there are studies that reveal that a person can meet the criteria for addiction with regard to tanning. If anyone not familiar with tanning, a person either lies in a bed under ultraviolet lights or they are sprayed with a compound – both methods tan the skin. There are positive feelings that come with this experience, including feeling good about yourself based upon your appearance. It is these feelings that can become the basis of an addiction.

Love/Relationships – This is another type of behavioral addiction that obviously can come with positive feelings. The nurturing, intimacy, and pleasure that a relationship can bring is the foundation for some to develop an addiction to love or relationships.

 

When a person engages in a particular behavior in order to access pleasure or stimulation, there is always the possibility that that behavior might be addictive. And when a habitual behavior (such as regular gambling) begins to feel like an obligation, it has become an addiction. This means that a person feels like he or she needs to engage in that behavior and that a person cannot stop. Whether it is with a behavior or a substance, when a person loses the ability to stop, there’s a good chance that an addiction has set in and addiction treatment is necessary.

As with all addictions, it’s important to get help. If you’re struggling with any of the behavioral addictions mentioned in this article series, contact a mental health professional for addiction treatment today.

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