It seems today’s news stories mention addiction on a regular basis. You might only associate cases of addiction to substances like drugs, though. If so, you could be surprised to know that other forms of addiction are just as dangerous.
Addictions of all kinds can be dangerous. You feel fortunate that no one in your family is a heroin addict. That’s definitely good news, but it doesn’t mean no one around you is struggling.
Take a look at yourself, your friends, and your family members. If anyone seems to exhibit qualities of someone obsessed with a certain behavior, they might struggle with addiction. These behaviors seem to be the center of the person’s entire world.
Do you know anyone who struggles with behavioral addictions? Do you feel like there’s more you need to know? The good news is that you’ve come to the right place by reading this article.
The Difference from Substance Addictions
As mentioned above, you have likely heard a lot about substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol are commonly abused. These behaviors are easy to become addicted to because the substances add chemical motivation for them.
In other words, substance addiction includes both the substance and the behavior. It can include everything from opiates to caffeine. Any physical material that encourages an addiction falls under this category.
In contrast, behavioral addiction involves a habitual action. Some examples below might clear up the difference.
Examples of Behavioral Addictions
At the core of the topic, pretty much every habit can be considered an addiction. It’s true that not every single habit is harmful to the self or anyone else. Still, though, if the habit develops into an overwhelming compulsion, problems start to happen.
Some habits are more likely to cause harm than others. For example, there is such a thing as an addiction to sex. Sex on its own is not something to be worried about or ashamed of.
In fact, there are plenty of positive effects with a healthy desire for sex. An active sexual life, though, is way different from an obsession with the activity. An addiction to sex can cause problems with romantic relationships on many levels.
Another common behavioral addiction is that of the Internet. Thanks to it being easy to access from mobile devices, many people suffer from this addiction. People of all ages can be found with their nose in their phones instead of engaging with the real life around them.
Exercise could even be an addiction. Shopping could be one, too. Again, though these habits aren’t dangerous on their own, they can take over some people’s entire worlds.
They’re Harmful in More Ways Than You Might Expect
If someone shops to the point of an addiction level, you might not think about being worried. After all, they’re only hurting their own finances. You hope they aren’t putting themselves in serious debt, but otherwise, you aren’t concerned.
This might not be the best attitude, though. The true level of addiction would have him or her placing shopping above even the closest of relationships. People and their lifestyle’s struggle in many ways when addiction overwhelms them.
Even if there’s no way of “overdosing” on shopping like on alcohol abuse, keep an eye out. You’ll find that any idolized behavior means another area of life might be lacking.
Behavioral Addictions Can Be Symptoms of Underlying Mental Health Problems
A lot of times, it’s easy to assume that substance addicts also have mental health problems. That could be considered either the cause or the effect of substance abuse.
Sometimes, though, behavioral addictions aren’t associated with mental health. If someone shops too much, they might only be encouraged to budget better. Instead, we should be thinking about these cases as signs there might be underlying issues.
For behavioral addictions, the obsession with an activity or habit could be the symptom of a mental health problem. This isn’t something anyone but a professional can understand, though.
If you are worried about someone with behavioral addictions issues, there are resources available to help you. You can always reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) national hotline.
It Becomes a Problem When There Is a Lack of Control
You might be wondering where exactly the line is when a hobby becomes more of a problem. Just because someone has a lot of sex or shops too much doesn’t mean addiction is the root of the issue. It might not even be an issue.
The best way to tell whether or not someone is struggling with addiction is how they talk about the subject. If they seem defensive of their habit, consider why that is. Do they seem to feel like that behavior is necessary for their everyday life?
There’s such a thing as “diminished control” under the influence of behavioral addictions. This occurs when the obsessive behavior is placed as the top priority on a regular basis.
If someone can’t perform other daily functions without that behavior, they’re addicted. No basic hobby should be so important to a person’s life that it is placed above even their loved ones. If you aren’t sure about what really is or is not an addiction, ask a professional.
There Are Ways To Treat These Addictions
Even behavioral addictions have ways in which they can be treated. You might think that rehab centers are only for substance abusers, but think again. In serious cases, it is completely reasonable to consider them for behavioral addictions.
There are plenty of natural ways to overcome behavioral addictions. This is especially true when surrounded by constant love and support. Not everyone has the means or community to handle this serious of an issue on their own.
The good news is that there are plenty of resources available to help everyone overcome behavioral addiction. We are here to help you and your loved ones find the treatment methods best suited for your needs. We encourage you to reach out to us today to find the best treatment options available.