Behavioral addiction

When a person repeatedly engages in a behaviour despite harm caused by it, it is referred to as behavioural addictions or process addictions. These are non-substance addictions, but many alcoholics or drug addicts have a strong tendency to develop these addictions.

Behavioural addictions could include:

  • Gambling addiction
  • Internet addiction
  • Gaming addiction
  • Eating disorders (overeating, bulimia and anorexia nervosa)
  • Shopping addiction
  • Kleptomania (impulsive stealing)
  • Sex/ Porn addiction
  • Trichotillomania

Behavioural addictions have common traits:

  • Preoccupation with the behaviour
  • Inability to control the behaviour
  • Increased tolerance to the behaviour – so the person indulges in more behaviour mor often to achieve the desired gratification
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms (such as irritability and restlessness) if the behaviour is stopped
  • Experiencing adverse psychological consequences, such as depression or anxiety symptoms, when the individual stops the behaviour for any reason.

Hope Trust offers a combination of psychiatric assessments for accurate diagnosis, psychopharmacotherapy (medicines), psychological therapies such as CBT, motivational enhancement, 12 Steps and mindfulness, for addressing process addiction on an outpatient basis.