The diagnosis of addiction is highly linked to the presence of toxic, addictive substances, such as drugs and alcohol. Of course, experiences of such addictions are common, resulting in many pre-conceived ideas.
Yet an addiction can, in fact, develop without the presence of a physically consuming substance, in fact, heightened by the presence of positive reinforcements.
Known as behavioural addictions, here’s where individuals become addicted to experiences, feelings, activities, and tangible objects, down to the positives that they feed within the internal reward system.
Emotional responses are also attached to such stimuli, strengthening psychological reinforcers and enhancing the risks of addiction.
Whether pleasure, excitement, fulfilment, increased self-esteem, competitiveness, or further feelings within the self-actualisation hierarchy are encountered, those feelings are longed for consistently, tying to the motivator itself.
While behavioural addictions do vary, they have many similarities, require professional intervention, and benefit from psychological addiction treatment.
Unfortunately, many are misunderstood, yet if you’re struggling, please be reassured that you are understood here at Addiction Advocates, openly offering guidance through behavioural addiction recovery.
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Are you suffering from a Behavioural Addiction and need help? Addiction Advocates are leading UK based experts in Drug Addiction and Rehabilitation Treatment. Find out how we can help by getting in touch with our friendly team today.
What is a behavioural addiction?
Behavioural addiction is a compulsive, routine reaction to a positive stimulus. Such stimulus can be an object, can be an experience, can be a memory, can be an emotion or can be an activity.
Influencing stimuli entice and fulfil the internal rewards system, offering positive reinforcements, thus reinforcing the need for consistent exposure.
Unlike addiction, which is driven by physical consumption, behavioural addictions are motivated by psychological consumption, tying emotional responses with exposure.
Individuals with such addictions will feel the need to be exposed to positively viewed stimulants in order to feel ideologies of emotions.
For example, exercise is found to increase motivation, happy chemicals and elevate mood. This is common knowledge, yet experiences of it also deliver such reliability. As exposure to those feelings will be encountered, exercise levels will be increased to encounter them again and again.
It’s clear to see how addictive activities and experiences can be when paired with uplifting emotions, especially for those with pre-existing vulnerabilities, in this case influencing an exercise addiction.
The realism of behavioural addictions can be extremely challenging to live through, as behaviours, personalities, attitudes, and outlooks become consumed by influential stimuli.
Life becomes engulfed by the source itself, turning a once hobby or irregular experience into a routine-like habit, recognised as behavioural addictions. Some individuals can be at greater risk of fixating on experiences or activities, defined as behavioural addictions.
Those who have encountered trauma, those with self-esteem issues, those with unrealistic ideas of reality, those with unhealthy lifestyles, those who thrive off false senses of security and those who encounter mental health issues are all vulnerable.
Types of behavioural addictions
There are many different types of behavioural addictions, as any given stimuli can be addictive where emotional responses are provided in turn of exposure.
However, some very common behavioural addictions can amount to serious, life-limiting conditions if allowed.
Internet addiction: Feeling fixated on online connectivity, to virtual personas, to compare the lives of others, to scrolling through online content, and to the 24/7 outlet of activity.
Internet addiction can result in obsessive behaviours, along with mental health vulnerabilities.
Shopping addiction: A shopping addiction can be detrimental to the quality of life, where financial and legal implications are common.
Impulsive shopping is common, even when consequences are present.
Sex addiction: A sex addiction usually results from a lack of connectivity, trauma, detachment, and abandonment.
It’s one of many misunderstood behavioural addictions, which can be highly damaging to relationships, personal self-esteem, and mental health.
Plastic surgery addiction: Being addicted to adapting personal image is very unhealthy, controlled by the obsessive behavioural addiction of plastic surgery fixation.
The fulfilment that such changes can make can trigger excessive emotional responses, driving ongoing surgery.
Gambling addiction: Gambling is a dangerous activity, down to the spiralling emotions it causes. Through positive exposure, a behavioural addiction can soon develop, to again experience the highs, even amidst the lows.
There are further behavioural addictions to consider, which can also be very damaging.
Warning signs of habitual behaviours
Each behavioural addiction will carry its own warning signs. However, some commonalities across the board should be taken seriously, indicating the development of habitual behaviour.
- A rapid change in behaviours
- Frantic mood changes
- Relief through exposure to objects, experiences, activities, or emotions
- Mental health struggles
- Feelings of chasing positive feelings or reinforcers
- Using addictive stimuli as coping strategies
- Leading unhealthy, obsessive routines
- Requiring exposure to addictive stimuli to lead an everyday life
- Negative side effects of such actions aren’t fulfilled
Ultimately, a change in behaviour and response to stimuli is an indicator of behavioural addictions. You may personally struggle to notice such changes yourself. Yet if you do, or encounter the concerns of others, considering behavioural addiction treatment will be recommended.
Treating behavioural addictions
Treating behavioural addictions will be approached with sensitivity, compassion, and personalisation in mind. Each addiction type is different, as is each client. With this in mind, assessments will be required to understand the depth and motivators behind behavioural addictions.
The aim of treatment will look to detox clients from exposure to influential stimuli while also changing outlooks on the consumption of such stimuli.
Cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy, stress management, support groups, exposure therapy, motivational therapy, educational sessions, lifestyle management, mindfulness and dual diagnosis treatment are prevalent when treating behavioural addictions.
Exact forms and degrees will all depend on the nature of addiction, including the behaviours and emotions linked to stimuli.
Managing behavioural addictions
Rehab itself will help to educate and treat clients through behavioural addictions. However, as emotional responses drive addictions, management must be in place, as emotions can resurface.
Relapse prevention planning, lifestyle management, and ongoing therapy will help manage potential triggers of behavioural responses, also assisting to curb relapse risks.
Depending on personal needs and addiction types, a wealth of confidential support and treatment is available to guide clients through behavioural addiction recovery.
Behavioural addictions are different to stereotypical views on addiction. They are uncontrollable, they materialise from our human responses, and they develop down to vulnerabilities.
Greater awareness of their materialisation is required to understand how damaging ongoing changes in behaviour can truly be.
What do our previous clients think?
Really enjoyed my time at Asana lodge. Staff are great and most have previous experience of the afflictions that affect all the clients, so they can relate to the situation you are in. I feel ready now to tackle the outside world with all the skills I have learnt.
Thank you to all the staff at asana lodge from management to the cleaners, everyone made me feel so welcome and really went above and beyond to help me in my recovery. highly recommend anyone seeking help with addiction depression and anxiety to go to asana lodge and heal your mind body and soul.
Everyone at Cassiobury court have been very supportive with my recovery and I have learnt a lot over the past 14 days. I am taking away some good tools to help me with my addiction. I look forward to seeing the piers at the aftercare service.
I came to you desperate, feeling so depressed and anxious. I left feeling hopeful and grateful and excited about life. I can't believe the change in just 28 days.
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This is done to assess what sort of help is needed so we can recommend an addiction treatment service that can provide the best help possible.
All calls are strictly confidential and are carried out by a trained healthcare professional.
No obligation recommendations are made after a full assessment of yourself or loved ones situation is fully made.
Recommendations include specialist addiction treatment programmes in CQC regulated facilities based throughout the UK.
If you are unable to afford private treatment then public healthcare and charities would also be recommended to you.
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We have a large number of helpful services available to help give you the best possible support when it comes to dealing with addiction.
Just some of the services we can offer includes:
- Free confidential telephone assessment
- Recommending CQC regulated residential addiction treatment providers
- Arranging for an intervention, if needed
- Insights into how different therapies and evidence based treatments work
- How detoxification works and what is the most safest option
- What type of rehab and detox programmes would be best suited for yourself or loved one
- Recommendations of the best providers in your area
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We can help take the stress out of finding an addiction treatment provider by recommending only the best options available that fully suits your criteria.
The help and advice we can provide includes making sure that your journey towards recovery is one that can definitely be achieved.
Taking the step towards recovery can be incredibly tough but we are here to put your concerns at ease by giving you insights into the safety of undertaking residential addiction treatment and how it can put you on the path towards long lasting recovery from addiction.
Our team of advisors have extensive experience and knowledge about the subject of addiction and the treatment provided so if you have any questions then they will be more than happy to help.
Get started today by calling our friendly team today on 0800 012 6088.