cards, poker chips, dice, alcohol sit on table showing a need for a process addiction treatment centerPeople do not only get addicted to drugs and alcohol. There are also behavioral addictions, or process addictions. They may not be as physically addictive as heroin but they take over a person’s life. It grips them with a compulsion to repeat unhealthy behaviors over and over. This category of addiction involves a psychological dependence on a behavior or activity. It becomes the center of their lives. It impacts them physically, emotionally, financially and professionally. People addicted to behaviors are like drug addicts, but their drug may be sex, shopping, eating or gambling.

Compulsive behaviors are a way to cope with an underlying issue. It may be a mental health disorder, emotional pain or trauma. These are addictive disorders that can be as disruptive to a person’s life as an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Just as substance abuse treatment and drug rehab help people with drug addiction, those with process addictions can be helped by a specialized process addiction treatment center.

At Promises, we treat people with process addictions and co-occurring substance abuse or other mental health disorders. Our clinicians use a blend of traditional and alternative therapies to help clients heal from the core issues. We help clients discover what is driving the disruptive symptoms in their lives.

What Are the Diagnostic Criteria for Behavioral Addictions?

One feature of behavioral addictions is loss of control. The person is unable to resist acting out their compulsion. Individuals may have many failed attempts to stop. There is a pattern of negative consequences. Things keep getting worse.

Every type of addiction has unique underlying issues. But in each case, the person continues with the behavior despite all the ways they suffer. Negative consequences may include health issues, losing loved ones or financial debt.

Process addictions may co-occur with other destructive behaviors and mental health disorders, such as:

In our process addiction treatment programs, we can diagnose and treat a dual diagnosis.

Types of Process Addictions

Process addictions may be related to shopping addiction, tanning, internet use or over-exercising. Some of the most common include:

Sex. Sex addictions can become dangerous quickly. The sexual behavior may begin as excessive masturbation or viewing pornography. But it can grow to acting out on impulses, such as having multiple affairs. For some people, it can develop into illegal activities such as seeing prostitutes or viewing child pornography. In all cases, the sexual activity is excessive and continues to escalate.

Eating. Food addictions and eating disorders plague people in many ways. They may binge eat or constantly overeat. Or they may try to starve themselves or purge every time they eat. This is not something that only impacts teenage girls. People of all ages have unhealthy and addictive behaviors related to food.

Gambling. People with gambling addictions often suffer financial ruin. It is one of the most difficult types of behavioral problems to overcome. Research shows the reward center in a gambler’s brain is activated by the sights, sounds, and anticipation of gambling. They live with the false belief that “this time I’ll win.” Or if they keep “practicing” they think they’ll have a big payoff someday. Some gamblers also become cocaine addicts because they want to stay awake all night to gamble. Gambling disorders lead people to risk everything. They borrow money from everyone. Eventually the debt burden leads to stealing and illegal activities. Jobs, careers, and families are lost to extreme gambling,

Video/Gaming. Gaming addiction is a compulsivity disorder. Those afflicted find their lives dominated by the compulsion to play video games. They don’t want to move away from the computer or console. Sometimes they go for days without a shower or food because they’re planted in front of their computer. Gaming is socially acceptable so this makes it even more difficult to treat.

People with these types of process addictions may experience withdrawal if they try to stop. Symptoms include irritability, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, and obsessive thoughts about the activity.

When to Seek Treatment for Addictive Behaviors

Signs that you may need behavioral or drug addiction treatment include:

  • Your life revolves around the compulsive activity
  • Your behavior has negatively impacted your relationships with loved ones
  • You’ve compromised your job, schooling or other commitments because of the activity
  • You’ve experienced legal trouble as a result of your behavior
  • When you’re not engaging in the activity, you have obsessive thoughts about it
  • You feel controlled by the compulsive activity and have had failed attempts to quit
  • You’ve tried addicts anonymous type programs and they have not helped

Treating Process Addictions

People with behavioral addictions and substance use disorders can benefit from integrated treatment. Here are some things to expect in our addiction treatment program:

You Deserve a Second Chance

If you’re struggling with addictive disorders, we can help. Our clinicians have helped thousands reclaim their lives from mental health issues and addictions. You’ll learn healthy coping skills and engage in activities that promote physical and mental health. Get to the root of the behavioral issue and have a chance to start fresh. Call us today for a free, confidential consultation.

Posted on July 21, 2017 and modified on April 13, 2019