Although more research needs to be done, behavioral addictions (particularly food and gambling) have been shown to massage the same neurobiology as chemical addictions, and can render you equally powerless over your condition.
Also known as “soft addictions”, these can be habits, compulsive behaviors, or recurring moods or thought patterns. Their essential defining quality is that they satisfy a surface want but ignore or block the satisfaction of a deeper need. These tend to be a form of psychological dependence that may involve emotional and/or motivational withdrawal symptoms (e.g., a state of unease or dissatisfaction, a reduced capacity to experience pleasure, or anxiety) upon cessation of these behaviors.
Over-reliance on an otherwise “normal” behavior (eating food, gambling, shopping, sex, expressing love, playing video games, etc.) can be debilitating – taking over your life – leading to relational, social, health, legal, and financial consequences.
Dr. Reef on Anderson Cooper 360 Speaking About Sex Addiction
The recognition of underlying causes for a behavioral addiction is critical to successful treatment, as are understanding the mechanisms for dealing with them:
Build Impulse Control
Develop Coping Techniques
Treatment for behavioral addictions can be challenging, as some of the behaviors being treated (food, sex, love) are normative behaviors that are part of the human condition. Other behaviors like gambling, shopping, and video games, are legal and easily accessible online.
The team of behavioral medicine professionals at Lumion Center includes treatment experts in behavioral addictions. We have staff who have not only published, but are internationally recognized speakers and thought leaders on these difficult conditions. Our behavioral therapy protocols include assisting you with improving your impulse control, reducing your stress, increasing your resilience, and improving your coping mechanisms.