14 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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Addiction can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Physical reliance distinguished by symptoms of withdrawal is often presumed to be necessary for somebody to be identified with an addiction disorder, but behavioral addiction can take place with all of the adverse repercussions in an individual’s life without the physical problems that people who face while obsessively engaged in alcohol and drug abuse.

The compulsive character of a person’s conduct is typically suggestive of a behavioral addiction, also known as a process addiction. Behavioral addiction is defined as the compulsion to participate in an activity or behavior regardless of the detrimental influence on a person’s capacity to be physically and/or mentally healthy and functioning in the family and in society. The individual may find the conduct psychologically satisfying or experience a “high” while doing it, but the repercussions of that repeated choice may leave them feeling guilty, remorseful, or even exhausted.

Individuals with behavioral addictions, however, are often unable to quit participating in the behavior for any duration of time without therapy and assistance, as is the case with all people who deal with addiction.

Gambling addiction affects between 2 percent and 3 percent of the population in the United States. Its symptoms, manifestations, and effects can differ between age groups, genders, and other variables. Men are more prone than women to acquire a gambling issue and at a younger age, yet women account for roughly 25 percent of individuals who have a gambling problem.

It is reported that one out of every ten young individuals who play video games has a video game addiction. If they’re unable to play video games, some individuals in therapy for video game addiction report feeling symptoms of withdrawal such as rage, perspiration, and so on.

Compulsive shopping is commonly thought to be a female problem, but according to CNN, roughly 6 percent of women and 5.5 percent of males suffer from it. Shopping addiction frequently co-occurs with alcohol use disorders and/or eating disorders such as bulimia or binge eating, therefore these concerns could be symptoms of the illness.

People suffering from sex addiction are frequently also struggling with other serious mental illnesses like bipolar disease or borderline personality disorder. Participating in potentially self-destructive activity during manic times or in general could be an indication of these other disorders, which should be evaluated during assessment and diagnosis at the start of therapy.

If using social media is compulsive and interferes with a person’s capacity to function in regular life, it can develop to addiction. Chronic social media use, on the other hand, can cause anxiety in users who experience uncomfortable feelings and agitation if they’re unable to connect — a sensation that could be classified as a withdrawal symptom.

According to certain research, medication may be beneficial in the treatment of some process addictions, regardless of whether they co-occur with other mental health problems. Certain research studies indicate that naltrexone could be a viable treatment option for online sex addiction.

Behavioral addictions can comprise a wide range of behavior that has become dysfunctional and have negative consequences in numerous aspects of life, including physical or mental health, social interactions, and job or school performance. Financial and legal complications might arise as a result of behavioral addictions.

These addictions, like drug abuse addictions, can grow over time and do not usually dissolve without professional therapy. They frequently coexist with other mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression.

Process or behavioral addictions can take various forms, including:

Eating disorders like binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia all have dysfunctional mechanisms that are often linked.

Behavioral addictions are caused by a variety of factors that are unclear. There is no single element that causes behavioral addiction; rather, it is the result of a combination of factors.

Even though research has still to conclusively narrow down the various factors that lead to the development of these occasionally overlapping issues, behavioral addictions and disordered eating frequently develop in tandem with other mental health conditions like substance use disorders, mood disorders, or depression. Existing drug use concerns, gender, age, genetic variables, and co-occurring mental conditions, particularly those involving impulse control or mood, are all established factors that may cause a behavioral addiction.

While behavioral addictions have no one etiology, they are comparable to substance abuse disorders in that personality, genetics, diet, stress, and familial environment can all play a role in their development. Individuals suffering from various addictions and other disorders can benefit from behavioral addiction therapy programs. They give you the skills you need to control and conquer your addiction.

Despite the fact that the majority of people indulge in the activities listed above, they are not recognized as addictions till the time the following requirements are met:

  • As a result of the behavior and/or incapacity to stop, the individual develops physical or mental health problems.
  • Since the behavior is so engaging, the person has problems with crucial relationships at work and/or at home.
  • The person has a variety of unfavorable consequences as a result of their continuous, heightened or chronic indulgence in the behavior.
  • Regardless of how adversely their life is impacted, the individual is unable to quit.

Symptoms in general include:

  • The failure to handle one’s impulses
  • a general loss of enthusiasm in anything else
  • When addiction cannot be pursued, withdrawal manifests as irritation.
  • Shame and guilt
  • Denial and/or refusal
  • Frequently telling lies 
  • Sudden changes in personality and becoming hideous
  • A reduction in the workplace and/or school performance

Sadly, there is seldom a single cause for a process addiction; instead, they are generally the product of multiple factors, such as:

  • Genetic propensity
  • Permissive Conditions
  • A traumatic event
  • Acute agitation

Treatment for compulsive behavior, including substance abuse, may involve a highly regulated atmosphere to assist the individual to quit behaving on impulses.

Finally, how can you recognize when a negative habit has turned into a behavioral addiction? Here are some of the red flags to look out for:

  • Feelings regarding the behavior that is obsessive
  • Friends and family are being kept in the dark about the behavior.
  • Loss of the ability to stop doing something despite bad repercussions like broken relationships, health issues, or financial insecurity
  • Mood swings and agitation
  • Alienation
  • Depression

Getting a proper diagnosis is the first effective step in treating behavioral addiction. To acquire a proper diagnosis, go to a reputed mental health center with a track record of treating these problems.

Most of the same therapies that are helpful in treating alcohol or drug addictions are also useful in treating behavioral addictions. All patients should have access to the services they require in a successful behavioral addiction treatment program. Any combo of the below may be used:

Detox Support: Once individuals stop engaging in the addictive behavior, they may experience agitation, insomnia, furious outbursts, panic, migraines, and other withdrawal symptoms. Providing professional support throughout this transitional time can help the client achieve therapeutic stability and increase their capacity to concentrate on growth and healing process in the future.

Diagnose and assess: Much like other types of addiction and substance abuse, co-occurring disorders affect a person’s compulsive tendencies and capacity to be abstinent in rehabilitation. A thorough examination procedure can assist detect any co-occurring substance misuse concerns and/or mental health illnesses that may be related to, initiating, or affecting the person’s experience with addictive behaviors in any manner.

Treatment plan: Depending on the person’s assessment and diagnostic results, individual interests and level of comfort, and present and future recovery objectives, a customized mix of treatments will be chosen.

Family support: It is just as crucial for dear ones and close relatives to participate in their own recovery methods as it is for the person who suffers from a behavioral addiction. Family members are invited to participate in support networks for family and friends, individual therapy sessions, and family group therapy with the individual in treatment, in addition to taking part in their dear one’s recovery.

Behavioral addiction treatment is a multi-step procedure. People suffering from behavioral addiction are removed from their current circumstances and placed in safe options through a premium high-end inpatient and residential program with upscale amenities. They can concentrate on their emotions and discover more about their addiction and the recovery process without getting involved in addictive behavior.

Behavioral addiction recovery programs are intended to teach people about their addiction while also assisting them in identifying and addressing any underlying problems that may have led to it. Group and individual counseling are frequently required to fully comprehend an addiction. It is simpler to take measures toward understanding how to deal with addiction and lead a healthier, happy, and successful life after an individual understands much more about obsession itself.

Individuals with behavioral addictions can acquire effective coping strategies, exercise impulse control tactics, and learn to handle their feelings in a therapy program. In group therapy sessions, members may share different approaches that have helped them cope with the symptoms of behavioral addiction. People at all phases of recovery can benefit from group therapy because it gives peer support.

Because behavioral addictions frequently coexist with other mental health concerns, it’s critical to choose a treatment center that can address both the psychiatric diagnosis and the behavioral addiction. If the root problem is anxiety, for instance, addressing anxiety can aid in the person’s recovery from behavioral addiction.

Medication-assisted rehabilitation may also be available at some facilities to help people cope with the effects of behavioral addictions. Forms of treatment and program guidelines differ at each facility, and for optimal outcomes, care plans should be individualized to each individual. If a patient has a dual diagnosis or a mental health issue in addition to behavioral addiction, choosing a treatment center that offers such treatments will be required. The effects of both disorders can be alleviated with effective therapeutic intervention.

Everyone responds to rehabilitation treatment in their own unique way. Learning how to deal with a behavioral addiction takes time, particularly if the addiction has been unattended for a long time or if other co-occurring abnormalities are present. While one individual may be satisfied with a brief stay at a behavioral addiction treatment facility, another may require more time.

Short-term recovery programs are usually 25 to 30 days long. The duration of longer treatment programs varies from 2 months to a year. The duration of time that people spend in a premium high-end inpatient or residential treatment, on the other hand, is often determined by his or her progress during treatment, as well as any underlying psychiatric or medical issues and the extent of the addiction. When it comes to conquering a behavioral addiction, it is critical that a person in rehab remain in treatment until they’re ready to handle the addictive behavior in a less stringent environment. The speed of recovery progress will be evaluated on an individual basis, and this information will be used to ascertain when someone is prepared to leave the rehabilitation program’s robust framework.

Usually, staff will work with each client during treatment to create an aftercare plan that includes the required support to help them thrive in recovery. Outpatient therapy, private treatment, self-help gatherings, or recovery housing can all be part of aftercare, which is customized to the individual’s needs to deliver the best possible result.

It might be tough to pick the correct behavioral addiction recovery center when someone decides to seek help. People must feel more at ease in their surroundings in order to achieve the greatest possible therapeutic outcome, and they must feel relaxed around both the mental health experts who offer care as well as other patients. People in need of behavioral addiction treatment must also be at ease with the therapeutic approaches offered at the treatment center.

Lastly, the rehab institution should be conversant with behavioral addictions and trained to deal with them. Many mental health specialists require specialist skills in the specific domain they are managing because they are not prepared to deal with all process addictions. In order to provide the highest possible care for a broad recovering population, some institutions may concentrate on a particular behavioral addiction or integrate treatment tactics to address eating disorders. Make certain to inquire about whether or not the institution accepts insurance for mental health therapy.

Professional treatment for behavioral disorders, in just about any form, will be preferable to not seeking assistance at all. Nevertheless, in order to increase the likelihood of success, it is crucial to consider your options before deciding on the appropriate treatment center for your specific circumstances. Before choosing a treatment center to treat a behavioral addiction, it’s crucial to figure out what the rehabilitating individual requires in terms of therapeutic options as well as the type and environment of the center. Consider the following questions:

  • Are you prepared for a shift in your life?
  • Would you feel more at ease in a female-only or male-only environment?
  • Do you have any other mental health issues that you need to resolve?
  • Is the institution prepared to handle medical issues that arise as a result of behavioral addiction?
  • What role does a helpful family or friend have in treatment?
  • Do you prefer to stay near home or travel for treatment outside of your area?
  • Do you have any religious or cultural requirements that this program can accommodate?
  • Is there a medication-assisted treatment option?
  • Will you need luxury services and/or private accommodation to recover?

There are numerous different treatment options, many of which are tailored to specific behavioral addictions. Many facilities could provide medication-assisted treatment and are based on certain therapeutic modalities or 12-step programs. Certain programs are better able to treat people who have multiple mental health problems (or dual diagnoses), like substance abuse, behavioral addictions, medical ailments, or mental health problems.

Although practically everybody engages in the behaviors listed above – social networking, shopping, etc. – it is often not obvious when somebody’s involvement with these behaviors hits an addiction level, necessitating treatment. Although the symptoms of an addictive disorder differ according to the action that is the target of the addiction, it is necessary to get help for a behavioral addiction when the following occurs:

  • The repetition of the activity develops into an obsession.
  • Every day and/or numerous times per day, the behavior is practiced.
  • The individual prefers to indulge in the behavior over the job, family time, or other previously valued activities.
  • Relations are harmed when an individual engages in the conduct on a chronic basis.
  • Other major repercussions emerge from an inability to cease the conduct (– for example, difficulties finding or keeping jobs, financial troubles, health issues, and legal difficulties, to name a few).

Inpatient and residential treatment are very beneficial for individuals who deal with addiction problems including behavioral addiction. The demand for therapy has increased as addiction problems have gained prominence. Inpatient treatment is admission to a rehabilitation facility that specializes in mental health care. An upscale high-end luxury inpatient treatment facility provides premium mental illness treatment in addition to 5-star resort-style amenities such as private rooms, massage and spa treatments, scenic settings, fitness centers, alternative therapies such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, gourmet chef-prepared meals, and acupuncture.

Since its founding, the purpose of an upscale luxury mental health inpatient treatment facility has shifted drastically. Historically, mental institutions were established solely to isolate people with mental diseases from the rest of society, which was regarded as “regular”.

Individuals must first rehabilitate in order to become a beneficial part of the community and, more importantly, lead a happy and autonomous life. A premium upscale residential facility provides a range of mental health services that can help alleviate pain and promote mental health. Among them are the following:

  • Counseling is available on an individual or group basis.
  • Medication Management (prescribed medications) 
  • Learning how to deal with and improve your skills so that you can better manage your damaging behavioral addictions 
  • Preventing relapse.



The Balance RehabClinic is a leading provider of luxury addiction and mental health treatment for affluent individuals and their families, offering a blend of innovative science and holistic methods with unparalleled individualised care.


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