Compulsive behavioral health problems such as obsessive shopping, gambling, and sexual addiction can be hard to stop without professional therapy and intervention. Conditions like these that often co-occur with substance use disorders are known as process and behavioral addictions.
Why Process Addictions Are Hard to Resist
Patients who believe their wellbeing and happiness depend on certain activities and outcomes often find that their personal relationships suffer tremendously. As you build up a tolerance to the risk — for example, with the process addiction of gambling – you may decide to bet more money or gamble more frequently in hopes of getting a bigger potential payoff.
With the process addiction of compulsive shopping, you may be unable to resist the urge to order more merchandise online despite mounting credit card debt. The adrenalin rush that occurs as packages arrive feels powerful and triggers the desire for more extreme, unrealistic shopping-induced pleasures.
MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS
Common Process Addictions
At Hanley Center at Origins, we specialize in helping patients recover from substance use disorders as well as behavioral addictions and health issues that co-occur with the disease of addiction. Process addictions may go unnoticed or be unknowingly encouraged by friends, family, and co-workers for long periods. Our team helps identify the root issues of process addictions.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Patients who are obsessed with physical perfection may go to extreme means to look a certain way. You may focus on tanning your skin or have multiple plastic surgeries to change your appearance to fit a perceived physical ideal or change something to match the appearance of other people in your social circle.
Patients who take exercising too seriously or to the level where they continue to run, cycle or workout despite injury and exhaustion may have an addiction to exercise. Rather than rest, these patients push their bodies to extremes.
There can be a strong tendency to sacrifice personal health for success in the workplace. When a patient’s desire for approval and recognition gets out of control, your mental, emotional, physical, and relational health with loved ones can suffer. Workaholism is often encouraged by society, and individuals with this process addiction may use it to justify an unhealthy and compulsive drive for recognition, approval, and success.
When patients risk something of value like their retirement savings or assets in the hopes of gaining something they perceive as having an even greater value, like the thrill of cashing gambling chips at the casino or a winning ticket at the racetrack, your gambling habit may be something you are unable to stop without help.
Shopping and spending money regardless of having great or small financial means can be a strong compulsion, especially if what you purchase is more than what you need for your daily existence.
Love and Relationship Addiction
Patients who jump from one amorous relationship to another or have multiple romantic relationships are destructive to everyone, including themselves. These compulsive patterns have nothing to do with actual love and are harmful to all those involved.
Continually checking your cellphone or other smart devices may be a sign that you are unable to pull yourself away. You may find that loved ones point out that you are ignoring them in lieu of scrolling the internet, or you may feel anxiety when your phone is not in your hand. Some patients even describe feeling phantom vibrations when their phone is not with them.
Social Media Addiction
Compulsively posting photos on social media channels rather than engaging with loved ones and checking for how many likes and reactions you get to your posts can be signs of social media addictions. Continually scrolling through other people’s profiles and comparing your life to their carefully curated ideals can also become an obsession.
Cyber Addiction and Video/Internet Gaming Addiction
Playing video games online or alone for hours at a time rather than engaging socially with real people indicates a compulsive desire. If loved ones notice your personal hygiene, work, and sleep patterns are suffering, you need help.
When patients experience an inability to feel emotions, they may turn to actions of physical self-harm like cutting their skin. These impulses can turn compulsive when physical pain is used to numb out emotional pain.
Treating Process Addictions
When patients are unable to engage in their process or behavioral addiction of choice, they experience withdrawal in their minds and bodies. Although process addictions can be difficult to treat, recovery is possible.
At Hanley Center, our treatment methods for behavioral addictions include:
- Psychological testing and support for other co-occurring mental health disorders
- Individual psychotherapy to address triggers associated with process addictions
- Advanced trauma therapies to tackle the core issues related to your addiction
- Psychopharmacology and medication management
- Group counseling to help eliminate shame and unveil solutions with peers
- Support groups for process addiction, including 12-Step programming and fellowships
When You Are Ready to Recover, We Are Here to Help
Hanley Center at Origins recognizes that process addictions and substance use disorders are interrelated. But psychological, physical, and spiritual recovery is possible.
Hanley Center: Most Insurance Accepted
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Address: 933 45th Street
West Palm Beach, FL 33407