The types of addiction range from everyday drugs such as alcohol and cocaine to behaviors such as gambling and theft. Some types of addiction are specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), while others are more controversial and have been identified by some addiction professionals. Constantly defying your odds? Of all behavioral addictions, gambling addiction is the one that most closely resembles drug and alcohol addiction. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) classifies gambling disorder as an addictive disorder.
Studies show that gambling addictions illuminate the same areas of the brain as drug addictions, and treatment for gambling disorder is generally included in the same type of therapy settings as drug and alcohol abuse. Can't you keep your hands off that game console? Research shows that video game addiction is more common in boys and men, and one study even found that up to 1 in 10 video players between 8 and 18 years old are gamers out of control (and games start to look more like reality than fantasy). If you're addicted to video games, treatments include counseling and behavior modification. According to Science Direct, behavioral addictions are defined as “an intense desire to repeat an action that is pleasant or perceived to improve well-being or that is capable of relieving some personal anguish.
What classifies some behaviors as addictive is the difficulty that those affected have in stopping or reducing their participation in them. Some motivating factors for behavioral addictions include the perception of a temporary decrease in depression and anxiety, making it a seemingly logical way to achieve calm or happiness. For example, gambling addiction illuminates parts of the brain similar to those of some drugs, causing a dopamine high for the user or player. Sex addiction affects the brain in a similar way to gambling addictions, and just like substance abuse treatment, joining a 12-step program can be a useful method of treatment.
Addictions based on sex, pornography, or masturbation can endanger the person by complicating relationships or possibly leading to unwanted pregnancies or STIs. They may struggle to gain control of their sexual behavior, followed by shame or regret. An inability to stop compulsions associated with behavioral addiction often indicates a possible addiction. Ashish Bhatt, MD, Discusses Link Between Behavioral Addictions and Substance Use Disorders.
Although these are the most common types of behavioral addictions, compulsive theft (kleptomania), love and relationship addiction, overwork, compulsive pinching of the skin and hair, and excessive use of television and exercise are also listed as behavioral addictions. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, behavioral addictions “resemble substance abuse addictions, in reference to the impact on the brain and its response to treatment. People often struggle to resist urges or temptations to reduce or stop behaviors that may be addictive to them, provoke excitement before completing them, and provide pleasure while doing them.
Areas of concern may include feelings of guilt or shame after completing the activity. This is similar in people who abuse harmful chemicals. Substance abusers have extreme difficulty resisting the urge or temptation to use the drug and may experience pleasure from using it. As a result, you may feel embarrassed after completing the activity and may lie about it or hide it.
For gambling or shopping addiction, people can suffer serious financial consequences. This can become a problem if they try to use loved ones for additional financial support. In addition, they can maximize credit cards and incur debt due to their addiction. For cases of video game and phone addiction, addictive patterns can hinder close relationships.
Individuals can be distracted, using it as an escape from the challenges of daily life to fix loneliness, stress, or fill other gaps. People with concerns can seek treatment by contacting a treatment provider. While controlling compulsions may seem impossible, there are several options for recovery. The first step is to recognize the challenges that behavioral addictions can cause, along with the need for help.
This can help you take control of your life. Support is available after taking the first step toward recovery. Contact a treatment provider today and start your journey. However, addictive behaviors that result from both types of addiction can have serious negative consequences, from everything that comes with substance use disorder to the dangers of gambling addiction, or even compulsive shopping and sexual behavior to an unhealthy degree.