CTRL Care Behavioral Health

Behavioral Addictions: What They Are and How to Treat Them

When people hear the word “addiction,” they generally think of a chemical dependency to alcohol, nicotine or illicit drugs. But it’s also possible to develop a behavioral addiction. People can get hooked on anything, from shopping to gambling to the internet. Because these behaviors are normal, it can be hard to imagine anyone becoming addicted to them. But the cycle of addiction can still take over and interfere with everyday functioning. 

Behavioral addictions look similar to drug addictions. People will seek out more and more opportunities to engage in their desired behavior. They also have the urge to experience a ‘high’ from the behavior. This is what causes them to engage in the activity, despite harmful consequences. They may also experience withdrawal like shaking, irritability and loss of concentration. 

Let’s learn more about behavioral addictions and the best ways to treat them. 

What are Behavioral Addictions? What are the Different Types? 

The DSM-5 includes behaviors in the addictions category, but a gambling disorder is the only officially recognized behavioral addiction. These addictions have similar effects to substance use addictions in the sense that a person gets dependent on the behavior, chases the reward and experiences withdrawal. This takes a toll on their work, relationships and life in general. 

Here are some of the most common behavioral addictions: 

  • Exercise addiction
  • Food addiction
  • Gambling addiction
  • Internet addiction
  • Shopping addiction 
  • Video game addiction 
  • Sex addiction 

Signs and Symptoms of a Behavioral Addiction

It’s possible that what you are dealing with is problematic behavior and not a full-blown addiction. Either way, it’s important to recognize your problem and the need for professional behavioral therapy in New Jersey. Here are some red flags that you may be struggling with a behavioral addiction:

  • Spending the majority of time engaging in the behavior, thinking about the behavior or recovering from the behavior
  • Becoming dependent on the behavior as a way to cope 
  • Continuing the behavior despite physical or mental harm
  • Having trouble cutting back 
  • Neglecting work, school or household responsibilities 
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop 
  • Minimizing or hiding the problem from others

Professional Behavioral Therapy in Princeton NJ

Behavioral addictions can be successfully treated. Addiction specialists have a wide range of treatment options for behavioral addictions, even when they are coupled with another condition like depression or anxiety. Start by speaking with your doctor or treatment team to determine the level of care you can benefit from. 

Behavioral addictions generally respond well to: 

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Medications
  • Self-help groups
  • One-on-one counseling 

Find Your Path to Healing 

If you or a loved one is struggling with a behavioral addiction to shopping, gambling, social media, video games or something else, please contact CTRLCare Behavioral Health. We have all of the tools and resources needed to recover under one roof. Our wellness team will do a full assessment and determine the best treatment approach for your needs. Contact us today to start your journey to healing! 

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Focused on evidence-based therapies and integrated wellness programs, the unique, hybrid approach at CTRLCare Behavioral Health is designed to meet the needs and goals of the individual. For personalized treatment that addresses the mind, body, and spirit, contact CTRLCare Behavioral Health today.