Process addictions are compulsive behaviors, such as excessive gambling, sex, work, eating, shopping/spending, or Internet usage. You can become addicted to the feeling brought about by a certain behavior or action. The suffering, losses, and devastating consequences stemming from process addictions are similar to those of substance use disorders. Process addictions are progressive in nature. Left untreated, they will only continue to get worse over time.
Basic characteristics of a process addiction
- Inability to consistently abstain from an unnecessary behavior, such as gambling or viewing Internet pornography
- Inability to engage moderately in a necessary behavior, such as eating or shopping
- Continuation of the behavior despite persistent or recurrent social, financial, psychological, or physical problems or consequences
- Inability to stop or control the behavior despite a desire to stop
- Preoccupation with the behavior, including planning activities to participate in the behavior
- Need to increase the frequency, intensity, or length of time engaged in the behavior to achieve the desired effect
- Denial of the effects of the behavior, including hiding it or lying about it
- Restlessness, irritability, anxiety and/or depression if unable to engage in the behavior.
Overcoming a process addiction is not a matter of willpower, self-restraint, fixing a moral weakness, or learning to break a habit.
If you or someone you know needs assistance with process addictions or other addictive behaviors, please contact us today.