What is Behavioral addiction?

Behavioral addictions have the same symptoms as drug addiction and other types of addiction. Behavior addictions alter mood by creating a euphoric feeling or a “high”. This feeling is caused by the serotonin or adrenalin released in the brain when a person uses drugs or alcohol or engages in an addictive activity. The brain then tries recreate this experience despite any negative consequences related to the activity. The need to repeatedly go through the experience, to get the chemical high, results in the individual being trapped in a compulsive process.

Sometimes rather than becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol, people develop behavioral addictions.

  • These are behaviors that are done in excess and negatively impact one’s life. Examples range from gambling, shopping, and sex to ice cream, exercising, and video games.
  • Though behavioral addictions are not classified as mental health disorders, they are strongly connected to mental health. They are also related to other addictions, like alcohol and drug abuse.


Behavioral addictions may include different actions that become maladaptive and also have adverse effects on different regions of life performing, including physical or psychological health, social relationships, and efficiency at school or the office. Behavioral addictions may also give rise to legalities or economic difficulties. These addictions, much like drug abuse addictions, usually don’t solve without proper treatment and might follow a modern program. Frequently, they occur along with other mental health problems, for example anxiety or depression.

There are lots of kinds of behavioral or process habits, including:

  • Sex addictions.
  • Love addictions.
  • Gambling addictions.
  • Pornography addictions.
  • Shopping addictions.
  • Work addictions.
  • Video game addictions.
  • Internet addictions.
  • Exercise addictions.
  • Frequently-connected, disordered processes in eating disorders observed, for example binge eating, and anorexia, bulimia.


Symptoms of Behavioral Addiction

Behavioral addictions have common traits, such as

  • Preoccupation with the behavior.
  • Diminished ability to control the behavior.
  • Building up a tolerance to the behavior so the behavior is needed more often or in greater intensity to get the desired gratification.
  • Experiencing withdrawal if the behavior is avoided or resisted.
  • Experiencing adverse psychological consequences, such as depression or anxiety symptoms, when the behavior is avoided or resisted.

behavioral addictionTreating Behavioral Addictions

While treatment for behavioral addiction can vary depending on the type of addiction, the overall approach remains the same. Even in the case of food addictions, compulsive behaviors originate within the addict’s thought processes and belief systems that develop from the addiction. For these reasons, psychotherapy, group therapy, and support group work are the primary approaches used in the treatment of behavioral addictions.

Behavioral addiction rehab centers are designed to teach individuals about their addiction as well as help them identify and address any underlying issues that may have contributed to the behavioral addiction. Understanding an addiction often requires extensive individual therapy as well as group therapy. Once an individual learns more about the addiction itself, it is easier to take steps toward learning how to cope with it and live a healthy, happy, productive life.


Length of Treatment

Everyone responds to rehab treatment differently. Learning how to cope with a behavioral addiction can take time, especially if the addiction has been untreated for a long period of time or there are other co-occurring disorders. While one person may feel comfortable with a short stay in a behavioral addiction rehab center, another person may need more time.

Short-term rehab programs typically last for 28 to 30 days. Longer rehab programs are anywhere from 60 days to a year. However, the length of time a person spends in rehab often depends on his or her progress while in treatment, any underlying medical or mental health issues, and the severity of the addiction.

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