Addictions can come in all sizes and shapes. Many of us know of substance abuse situations like drinking, smoking, or taking drugs. But, we may not be equally aware of many other types of dependencies – or take them seriously.
There are so many people who get overly habituated to the Internet, gaming, shopping, binge eating, over-exercising, and so on. These are all types of process addictions (or behavioral addictions, as they are often called). These fixations can be debilitating – and need help.
Those with such behavior may find their engagement with the objects of their obsession excessive or compulsive, affecting them mentally or physically. They may also stop being responsible towards their families, jobs, or other commitments.
Usually, people with such orientations continue with their ways because they find them rewarding psychologically. They may get an adrenaline rush while engaged in their activities. But invariably, they later feel guilt, remorse, or anguish due to the consequences of their choices.
Unfortunately, people afflicted with such behavioral tendencies may be unable to stop unless they get timely support from their friends and family – or even treatment from professional counselors. This article aims to provide more insight into the problem and offer some solution directions.
Some classic types include:
But, why do these addictions occur? There are interesting theories. Most prominent among these ideas are the following:
Interestingly, according to Christopher M. Olsen, Ph.D., in his medical paper in the National Library of Medicine, a gene transcription factor known as ΔFosB has been identified as a necessary common factor involved in both behavioral compulsions and drug abuse. The author says this gene transcription factor is associated with the same set of action-reward neural patterns in all types of chronic mental tyrannies.
The prevalence of these psychological problems seems only to be growing.
These are just a few trend patterns that validate what psychologists are seeing … the growth of such mental captivity to certain action patterns is not limited to gender, geography, or age. And, more people are becoming aware and concerned that they may have such problems.
Typical signs and symptoms include these:
While compulsive process engagement and substance use disorder are independent conditions, in many instances they can overlap. These two types of bondage can also feed off each other when a person switches back and forth between them.
According to the Turning Point of Tampa, a noted de-addiction facility, “Although process addiction and substance addiction are different disorders, they frequently co-occur, which is referred to as a ‘dual diagnosis.’ For the best chance of long-term recovery, both conditions must be treated at the same time. Each disorder needs to be addressed fully, along with any potential interactions between the two conditions.”
Being trapped in any mental malady causes much eventual stress. And stress can add many complications to those suffering from ailments like obesity, cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension – along with other hereditary factors. All these ailments can have a multiplicative effect on the heart.
Awareness of high diabetes symptoms, causes of blood pressure, the proper diet to control cholesterol, and getting an obesity diagnosis – all these are imperatives for overall health and must be discussed with your doctor.
The two most recommended treatment paths, cited by most psychologists, are the following.
CBT helps clients recognize “hot-button thoughts,” which trigger negative or neurotic obsessions. Once people have identified those trigger thoughts, they can then learn to change their response.
For example, watching TV idly from a particular sofa in the living room may trigger an eating binge. In such cases, CBT helps people stay alert and anticipate these triggers or take proactive action against them. A CBT expert may recommend watching TV seated on a different chair, or stopping TV watching altogether at certain vulnerable time periods when eating binges normally occur.
Dialectic means two or more opposite or conflicting ideas that exist and interact. In DBT, psychiatrists guide clients to tolerate and live with opposites – such as acceptance of the past and change in the future.
For example, people can learn to accept their past behaviors and simultaneously understand the need for healthy change. Disassociation between the past and present has to be established. Otherwise, people may feel regretful for their past habit-forming behaviors, causing them to head towards other compensatory excesses in the future.
Anything done beyond a reasonable limit, and having negative consequences on ourselves or others around us, are behaviors to be wary of. We can never know when seemingly simple activities can turn into enslaving pressures, especially when many other stresses are plaguing our lives. Stay grounded and moderate in behavior for overall good health. Stay heart-healthy. Be a Zinda Dil.