When many young people first think about what addiction is, their minds generally picture somebody who is suffering from substance dependency issues, but there is a lot more to addiction than what initially meets the eye (or the mind).
According to Neva Pryor, Executive Director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, while drug use can often be habit-forming, sometimes the self-destructive behavior itself can be the hardest thing to change.
Some behavioral addictions include:
If you find yourself continuing to do any of the above things in excess despite negative consequences, you may have a process addiction.
At first, these habits can be compulsive reward systems or purely a coping mechanism. Eventually, these processes can spiral out of control, leaving you with less time for friends, family, work and fun. Even just thinking about these behaviors can cause you to lose focus and consume your time that is meant to be doing other things.
Some things that can cause behavior addictions include:
- Chemical imbalance
- Distorted beliefs
- Inability to deal with situations
- Unresolved personal issues
Did you know? – Anything from shopping binges to online dating can trigger endorphins and dopamine, providing a temporary release of rewarding chemicals in the brain, therefore reinforcing the behavior.
Continuing to chase those brain chemicals can lead to chronic behaviors that can spiral out of control. Once control is lost, a new addiction is formed – an addiction that can be harder to kick than drugs, alcohol or gambling. If somebody who has a history of mental illness and substance abuse adds a new addiction (or multiple new addictions) to the mix, this can prove to be a dangerous combination that leads to dire consequences in the short and long term.
Some different types of therapies to treat behavioral addiction include:
- Behavioral Therapy – Talk to your primary care physician, psychologist or psychiatrist if you feel that you are dealing with a problematic process addiction of any variety.
- Support Groups – From online forums to anonymous in-person meetings, people like to communicate with others in a group setting to learn more about their behavior and how to treat their active addiction.
- Introduce New, Beneficial Behaviors – Many people benefit from becoming involved in things that they enjoy. From yoga and volunteering to art and sports, there are plenty of healthy ways to spend your time when coping with life’s hardships. Plus, there are many alternate forms of treatment ranging from holistic Eastern medicine to animal-assisted therapies that can work wonders.
That being said, the first step is realizing you have a problem. From there, there are many paths that lead to success. Here at the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, we are happy to connect you to the right people, even if gambling (such as sports betting in Monmouth, NJ) isn’t what you’re addicted to. The next time you think about illegal sports betting on events in the Meadowlands area, NJ, or lose control gambling in the form of fantasy sports or casino games, call 1-800-GAMBLER, and we will be happy to help 24 hours a day.