Addictive disorders encompass more than drugs and alcohol. However, an individual does not have to suffer physical signs of addiction. Process addictions also referred to as behavioral addictions, encompass compulsive behaviors resulting in negative consequences for a person. What is a process addiction, and how can you recognize the signs?
Understanding What a Process Addiction Is
Process addictions cause a person to feel the same emotional highs as someone dealing with a drug addiction. An individual continues with the behavior to continue experiencing the same feelings. The compulsion ends up detrimental to their well-being.
People find themselves unable to break out of the habit despite negative blowback in their lives. You may feel shame and remorse afterward but continue fixating on the action. Individuals continue indulging in the behavior to avoid any discomfort that comes with stopping their activities. Residential and outpatient treatment programs can help you work through a process addiction.
Types of Process Addiction
Below are the most common forms of process addiction.
- Gambling — Many people indulge in social or professional gambling with no issues. Those with a compulsive gambling problem continually indulge in high-risk behavior to support their habit. They can’t stop themselves and become obsessed with gambling to the point of putting their financial future at risk.
- Sex and Love — Those recognized as sex addicts cannot control urges prompting them to engage in risky sexual behavior. Love addicts do not require a physical connection, getting a high from their infatuation with various individuals. Both patterns of behavior become disruptive to a healthy life.
- Internet — Internet addicts crave the high that comes with constant online engagement. They cannot keep themselves from compulsively surfing the web, similar to an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some individuals become obsessed with online relationships to escape anxiety and self-doubt in their personal lives.
- Gaming — Online gaming is the most significant cause of this process addiction. People lose track of time spent playing video games. They may stop going to school or work and neglect relationships.
- Shopping — People with this form of process addiction typically have other co-occurring mental disorders. They use shopping and spending as a way of improving their mood and relieving anxiety. The amount spent leads to feelings of guilt, which causes them to start the cycle of the expenditure again to make themselves feel better.
- Food — Food eating disorder, or binge-eating, triggers chemical changes in the brain that soothe psychological distress. People continue eating beyond the point of fullness. They stash food to have available later and feel shame and guilt after an episode.
The latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not include all the above addictions. Still, many therapists in recent years have found it beneficial to treat these addictions separately.
Common Symptoms of Process Addiction
Each of the above-listed disorders exhibit distinct signs and behaviors. However, they do all share some common symptom patterns that can help answer questions like, “What is a process addiction?” and “Am I suffering from a process addiction?” when it comes to you or a loved one. Below are the common questions you can ask yourself if you’re trying to determine if you have a process addiction.
- Do you or a loved one spend a lot of time thinking about or indulging in a process addiction
- Have you or a loved one found yourself unable to control the behavior
- Do you or a loved one continue the actions despite physical or emotional consequences
- Have you or a loved one have unsuccessfully attempted to stop the behavior
- Do you or a loved one neglect your work, educational, or family obligations
- Do you or a loved one ignore or downplay the extent of your problem
- Have you or a loved one experienced emotional withdrawal when you stop the behavior
- Do you or a loved one feel anxious, irritable, or depressed when not indulging in the behavior
Getting Help Today
If you found yourself curious about the question “What is process addiction?” and how it might tie back to your problems, you may want to seek professional help. Atlantic Recovery Center helps you build the tools to break free of problematic process addictions.