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We all do things that we know we shouldn’t do. We sometimes do bad things without even noticing. It could be finishing a whole bag of chips and not noticing they’re gone until you reach for another. Doing bad things does not make you a bad person.

You may have lied, cheated, or stole to get what you wanted, but you have to ask yourself what was driving you? Some things we do consciously. Other things we do subconsciously. The things we do, good or bad, can change us to our core or can just go unnoticed. There are some things that we do, besides substances, that can be terribly destructive to our lives.

Why Do I Do This?

Bad ideas and bad habits go along with an addiction. When in the grips of an addiction priorities change whether we want them to or not. Phone calls to family don’t happen as often as they once did. Promises aren’t kept. Money goes missing. Addictions change the way the brain works in more ways than one.

Addictions change the brain chemically. It affects the release of “feel good” chemicals like dopamine. As an addiction progresses it will change your perspective, as well. For example, those strong feelings against stealing you once had can and will begin to wear. Stealing is an easy way to get money. Not considering or completely ignoring negative consequences is a part of addiction. You know that this is the wrong thing to do, but you do it anyway.

Behavioral Addictions

Addiction is not limited to substances. There are also process addiction, also known as behavioral addictions. What all addictions have in common is that uncontrollable urge to keep going no matter what. We need to be able to identify if we are crossing lines that put us onto a slippery slope. Here are a few examples of other addictions that aren’t talked about as often as drugs and alcohol.

  • Gambling Addiction
  • Sex Addiction
  • Work Addiction
  • Pornography Addiction
  • Shopping Addiction
  • Video Game Addiction
  • Internet Addiction

Not all of these addictions are life-threatening. These types of addictions can and will ruin lives. Gambling and shopping addictions can bleed all the money one has to their name.

Porn, video games, and internet addictions can begin to take all the time away from family, friends, and work. Sex addiction, sometimes called hypersexuality or nymphomania, puts people at risk for diseases and a morally bankrupt feeling. With all of these addictions, there are feelings of massive guilt and remorse. Unfortunately, these negative feelings can play into the addiction and keep the cycle going. Behavioral addictions may be easier to hide in the beginning for some, but the classic signs that something has changed will begin to show.

The want or need to participate in that behavior will begin to make each day harder and harder to get through. With some of these behavioral addictions there can be signs of withdrawal. People can slump into a depression, feel extreme anxiety, or go into a rage.

With all addictions, the weight of negative consequences is shuffled to the side. When we begin to ignore the threat of disease, debt, or our loved one’s feelings we are letting something else take control of our lives.

What Do The Professionals Say?

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In the past, substance addictions that cause physical and/or psychological dependence were the only addictions officially recognized by the medical community. Many behavioral addictions are thought to be related to mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance addictions, but the mechanisms behind their development still are not fully understood, according to Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

The diagnosis for these behavioral addictions technically fall under impulse control disorders. The medical community has recognized that these behaviors have destructive effects and negatively affect mental health. The DSM-VI does not define these behavioral addictions as addictions, yet. Regardless of the terminology, it is understood that these are addictions and they do require treatment.

The National Institute of Health reports that as many as 82% of people suffering from behavioral addiction have a co-occurring substance abuse, anxiety, or depressive disorder as well. We do know that the reward system in the brain is stimulated by these behaviors. We also know that the behaviors and feelings of a person addicted to meth are similar to a person addicted to sex. Reckless behavior, disregard for negative consequences, and the urge to continue the behavior or use is the same with these two examples.


There is treatment out there for these behavioral addictions. There are hotlines, rehabs, group therapy, psychotherapy, and even medications. Considering that so many people with a behavioral addiction have a dual diagnosis, treating the underlying mental health disorder may be a big part of the treatment needed.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is widely used to help people change the patterns of negative thoughts therefore changing behaviors. CBT can be thought of as a combination of psychotherapy and behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy pays close attention to the relationship between our problems, behavior, and thoughts. There are different kinds of treatment for different types of addiction. Contact us for more information about our customized treatment programs: 888-380-0667

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