Behavioral addiction begins with an individual experiencing pleasure while being associated with a particular behavior and seeking it out; initially for enhancing the experience of life, but later, as a way to cope up with stress. This process of engaging in behavior and seeking it out become more ritualized and frequent, until it becomes an important part of the life. When a person is addicted, he experiences cravings or urges to engage in that behavior, which further intensifies until he carries out that behavior again, feeling elation and relief.
A behavioral addiction may cause just as much problems in an individual’s life as the addiction to alcohol or drugs. Those who suffer from this type of addiction often feel getting out of control due to it. They may wish to change such problematic lifestyle, but often times they do not have skills that help in making conscious and healthier choices. Negative consequences of this behavior might occur, but the person persists with such a behavior.Examples of the addictive behaviors include:
- Sexual activities
- Food and eating
- Video games
- Computer games
Symptoms and Signs of Behavioral Addiction
- Engaging for a long period of time as compared to what the person initially intended.
- Constant need or urge to engage in behavior.
- Majority of time is spent in recovering from its effects.
- One of more unsuccessful efforts to reduce, control or stop the behavior.
- Preoccupation with behavior itself or with actions that are required for preparing for it.
- Individual finding isolation to get engaged in the behavior so nobody finds out about the behavior or addiction.
- Neglecting other important obligations like family, school or work so that the individual engages in that behavior more often.
- Increase in the frequency or intensity of the behavior for achieving the same effect. Irritability, restlessness, anxiety or hostility if the person cannot engage in behavior.
- Continuation of engaging in the behaviors despite of the negative consequences or the behavioral addiction.
Treatments of Behavioral Addiction And Mental HealthMost of the behavioral addictions have some underlying issues of mental health. Addressing such issues makes room for the possibility of long-term rehabilitation because it teaches the individuals how they can cope with the triggers that may lead to such unwanted behaviors. The treatments may include:
- Specialty Psychotherapy that helps teaching the addicted individuals how to recognize the triggers and how to learn the healthier strategies to cope up well with them.
- Neuropsychological Assessment that would diagnose the issues.
- Spiritual Therapy that usually incorporates breathing exercises, yoga, creative visualization, and other helpful holistic therapies for bringing centeredness and calm to the life of the individuals.
- Group Therapy that provides the individuals suffering from behavioral addictions an opportunity with which they can learn from other individuals and develop the support network during the treatment.