A Guide to Behavioral Addiction

A Guide to Behavioral Addiction

Approximately 43.8 Americans struggle with their mental health in any given year. This can range from minor anxiety to more pressing issues.

Behavioral addiction falls into this category. We need to place a greater focus on these types of mental health disorders to take a proactive approach to heal mental illness.

What is Behavioral Addiction?

Behavioral addiction refers to a set of impulse control disorders. Essentially, the person will consistently do something for instant gratification without considering the consequences. This could profoundly impact their life in a negative way.

Behavioral addictions could lead to:

  • Broken relationships
  • Lost jobs
  • Financial strain
  • Homelessness
  • Injury
  • Death

The reward never actually outweighs the consequence. The illness traps them into a repeating pattern that requires intense treatment to break.

Examples of Common Behavioral Addictions

Behavioral addictions can take on many forms. Though, the mechanism controlling these impulses in the brain stems from a similar source. Here are some of the most common addictions.

Substance Abuse

As one of the most commonly talked about addictions, substance abuse takes center stage. This can count as excessive drinking or any level of drinking that creates problems in a person’s life.

It may also include the use of illegal substances. Alcohol and drug addiction pose a serious health risk and may put others in danger as well. This makes proper treatment essential.

Compulsive Eating Disorders

An eating disorder encompasses unusual eating habits that can involve eating too much, purging, or ingesting non-food items compulsively. These compulsions stem from unhealthy thinking that can lead to serious health impairments.

Sometimes, they come from dysmorphia, where the person cannot help but strive for a “better” body image. Other times, they simply chase euphoria, similar to drug addiction.

Sex Addiction

This form of behavior addiction prompts a person to chase unusual sexual gratification. They might need constant sex, crave multiple sexual partners, compulsively masturbate to porn, or partake in unhealthy fetishes.

Sex addiction makes monogamous relationships difficult, if not impossible, and often breaks up families. Promiscuous sexual behavior also puts the person at risk for contracting and spreading sexually transmitted infections.

Gambling Addiction

Nearly everybody who places a bet does so for the thrill. However, people with behavioral addictions cannot stop. Though this may seem less dangerous than other addictions, compulsive gambling often results in financial distress and homelessness.

Treatment Options

Regardless of the compulsion, people who suffer from any behavioral addiction should seek professional treatment. They might need counseling, a 12 step program, group therapy, or even an intense inpatient program.

Though you can treat this type of mental illness, you cannot necessarily cure it. Overcoming behavioral addiction takes a lifetime commitment to think through choices and live differently.

Seek Help Today

If you suffer from behavioral addiction, do not feel ashamed. Your mind simply needs assistance in thinking more clearly. You are not alone, and help is available.

We want to help you choose better and live your best life. Contact us so we can set you up in the right treatment program.