This section of the website is dedicated to addictions that do not fit into alcoholism, drug addiction or sex addiction.
While our specialist alcohol and drug addiction sections deal with chemical dependancy, here you will find more about behavioural addictions.
It used to be that the term addiction was purely used to describe chemical dependance. Over the last few decades more and more research has been done on addiction to behaviours and it is now quite widely accepted a condition.
This form of ‘addiction’ can be referred to as process addiction, non-substance addiction, or compulsive addictive behaviour. This would refer to things like gambling, sex (please see specialist section of our site), shopping, or even relationships. This could in fact refer to any behaviour or thing that the ‘user’ simply cannot stop or walk away from even once it becomes problematic.
Signs of addiction
Some signs of ‘behavioural’ addiction include
- The need for a ‘fix’ despite any negative connotations this may have
- Habitually indulging in a behaviour that may be harmful to yourself or others
- Needing more of the ‘fix’ to feel the same ‘high’, (building tolerance)
- Increase in anger and irritability
- Loss of self-esteem
- Weight changes
- Sleep changes
- Unpleasant feelings of withdrawal when the ‘fix’ is not available
- Need for a ‘fix’ preoccupying thoughts
An addict may struggle with other areas of life; finances, work, relationships for example.
Treatment for addiction
As with any physical dependancy, your treatment will very much depend on what it is you are addicted to. There is much help available for nearly all addictions. In UK we would suggest if you think you may have an addiction, whatever it may be, your first port of call should be your GP. As treatment and services vary across the country, your GP should be able to advise on individual options.
Please also see our addiction counselling directory
The road to recovery is different for everyone, but remember you are not alone, these conditions are real as is the pain you and your loved ones may be feeling. If you are struggling with an area of your life, you and those around you deserve the help you need to get better. There is life the other side of addiction and we hope the guides and stories below will help and inspire you.