Behavioural addictions like food, gambling, internet and sex can be just as debilitating as addiction to drugs or alcohol.
It is well known that millions of people worldwide are addicted to alcohol and drugs. However, did you know that many also suffer from behavioural addiction? This is an addiction to processes, such as gambling, sex, internet-based activities and eating. It works on the brain in much the same way as a substance addiction, and can be just as powerful.
Addiction works by stimulating the reward centre in the brain – you receive pleasure when your brain releases dopamine, which occurs during an enjoyable activity. Over time, engaging in a pleasurable behaviour repeatedly establishes a pattern that encourages the brain to create incentives for those behaviours. Thus, a behavioural addiction is born.
People with behavioural addictions feel compelled, or forced, to continually engage in the addictive behaviour, even if it results in negative consequences that can ruin their lives. Addictions like sex, eating, internet and gambling can wreak havoc on one’s physical, emotional and financial health.
Process addictions require specialized treatment due to their complex psychological nature. If you have are finding that a certain behaviour is taking over your ability to live out your life, seek qualified professional treatment as soon as possible.