Most people think of addiction as solely a chemical or substance-based problem. However, the human brain can latch on to nearly any soothing or pleasing behavior and form an addiction. Process addictions usually don’t involve specific substances, but they still cause adverse effects. A person struggling with a process addiction may lose friends, struggle to maintain romantic relationships, lose all of their possessions and income, and develop secondary conditions like depression or anxiety. Find out precisely what is a process addiction and how to handle one. To learn more about process addiction treatment, contact Viewpoint Dual Recovery at 855.746.3633.
What is a Process Addiction?
Process addictions are all those impulsive and uncontrollable behaviors that don’t involve specific substances. Food addictions are among the few process addictions that involve consumption, but it’s still not the food itself causing the problem. Process addictions include repetitive behaviors rather than substances. These behaviors bring satisfaction, pleasure, or a sense of control. This behavior can range from something commonly desirable, like sex, to actions that seem unpleasant, like hair-pulling. As long as the activity can bring some release or relief, it could become part of what is a process addiction. Some examples include:
- Gambling: From visiting casinos to buying scratch cards at gas stations, this is one of the most common process addictions
- Shopping: In our consumeristic society, shopping addiction both online and in stores runs rampant
- Playing video games: Video game addiction involves playing games with no sense of time passing or the ability to limit sessions
- Compulsive sexual contact: Sex addiction involves compulsively engaging in carnal relations with strangers or in risky situations
- Exercising and tightly controlling food intake: Exercise addiction can become an eating disorder if you don’t get treatment in time
- Food addiction: This condition occurs when you’re consistently overeating and compulsively consuming food without control
How Does a Behavior Addiction Differ from a Substance Addiction?
Since there’s no substance to cause serious health effects during withdrawal, process addictions are generally treated through partial hospitalization program or outpatient programs. If a process addiction is overwhelming, it may require an inpatient stay to disconnect you from access to the behavior or situation. For example, compulsive shopping or gambling is easily satisfied online now. An inpatient resident stays at our facility with no access to the Internet without supervision is often the best first step towards recovery. It’s often easier to access the focus of a process addiction than a substance addiction since shopping, gambling, and eating are all legal and even encouraged behaviors. Don’t underestimate the amount of treatment you may need because many people often overlook these repetitive processes.
What are the Signs of a Process Addiction?
Any signs that a person is compulsively or uncontrollable doing something flag a potential addiction. Someone who lashes out angrily when asked about gambling costs or time lost to gaming is likely struggling to control their behavior. If your habit is causing you to perform poorly at work, lose your job, neglect basic care, or isolate yourself from others, there’s a good chance of process addiction. Talk to a therapist or professional to decide how to handle a friend or loved one with signs of what is a process addiction.
You have plenty of options for overcoming your process addiction. We can help here at Viewpoint Dual Recovery Center. Our dual diagnosis and process addiction treatments focus on your discomfort’s root causes, helping you change your life for the better. We provide a range of treatment options to give you the best possible chance for recovery, including:
- Individual therapy program
- Group therapy program
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Family therapy
Your process addiction doesn’t have to take over your life. Contact us today at 855.746.3633 to learn about your treatment options.