What Are Behavioral Addictions and How Do They Develop?

Behavioral addictions or non-substance addictions (gambling addiction, for example) are a set of behaviors a person depends on and craves. Behavioral addictions are sometimes disregarded by doctors and others who don’t fully understand them. Learn more about what they are and how they develop.

What is Addiction

When a person abuses substances, their body can grow dependent on the substance to function. This dependence could evolve into drug cravings and, eventually, they may become erratic. Certain substances are more addictive than others. This is due to physical reactions they have in their body. Non-substance related addictions are a different story.

Behavioral vs. Physical Addiction

There is no debate on how society treats people suffering from addiction. It is experienced by so many people but behavioral addictions are a challenge for so many. There are certain things people find to be really addictive that keep them trapped like:

  • Food
  • Social media
  • Gambling
  • Sex
  • Shopping

The idea behind these is that if someone feels the symptoms of addiction, it is not about substances. It is a set of actions that creates calm feeling, or euphoria, for the person who does them.

Science of Addiction

Evidence suggests from brain images that these behaviors are most strongly correlated to gambling addiction when it comes to how people’s brains become addicted. There are levels of severity of addiction but in people’s minds, they may believe theirs is not ‘that bad.’ some people with behavioral addictions may have significant consequences due to their behavior, but others function fairly well in spite of the behavior. Even when consequences are present for people’s behavior, they don’t often function well when they are caught. They will deny a problem exists even after being caught red-handed. Parts of the brain are activated in behavioral addiction the same as substances, so it is still very serious for people who struggle. Building tolerance to drugs means they have to bet more, spend more, or do more to get the same feeling. This compulsion will continue until the consequences outweigh the behavior’s rewards. Treatment is the best option to get to the underlying cause of addiction and help heal and repair the person’s life, body, and mind from addiction. No matter what, behavioral or substance use, the addiction still ravages a person’s life from the inside out. It will take time to make reparations for harm caused and come to grips with what has happened. Therapy and treatment are a good place to begin that healing journey of recovery.

The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.