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Do I Have A Behavioral Addiction?

Addiction is a term commonly associated with physical dependence on mind-altering substances like alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription medications, and nicotine. 

However, despite being the subject of unending debate, behavioral addictions are also common and can have serious, life-changing consequences if allowed to get out of hand. 

While several experts are against labeling behavioral addictions as ‘true’ addictions, there is no denying that some habits can be hard for people to stop despite having negative effects.

If you’re wondering whether you have a behavioral addiction, then you couldn’t be in a better place. 

Read on as we take a closer look at behavioral addiction, its effect on your day-to-day life, and how you can overcome the potentially destructive habit. 

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What Is Behavioral Addiction?

Also called process addictions, behavioral addictions are habits that, similar to substance addiction, create a feel-good feeling in the short term despite having negative long-term consequences. 

While activities like gambling, sex, eating, and watching porn might come off as harmless at first, they might develop into addictive behavior if done repeatedly. This usually results in a reduced quality of life and stressed social (and personal) relationships. 

Here are common examples of behavioral addictions: 

  • Sex
  • Pornography 
  • Gambling 
  • Shopping 
  • Internet 
  • Risky behavior 
  • Food 
  • Gaming 
  • Plastic surgery 

These behaviors have no harm if done in moderation. However, they can become destructive if allowed to get out of hand. 

And while some people might find it relatively easy to overcome these habits, others often struggle and require professional assistance to recover fully. 

Signs of Behavioral Addiction

Addictive behaviors trigger brain reactions that, similar to drug addictions, reinforce the habit and encourage the person to engage in the behavior further. 

Partaking in the behavior, whether eating, watching porn, having sex, or shopping, stimulates the release of dopamine, a feel-good hormone that promotes behaviors that lead to instant gratification. 

Equally, you are also likely to experience some mild withdrawal symptoms like agitation, personality changes, trouble sleeping, and mood disorders when you don’t give in to your behavioral addiction. 

Below are some signs that you might be struggling with a behavioral addiction.

Obsession With the behavior

You probably have a behavioral addiction if you’re spending hours or most of the day engaging (or planning to engage) in a behavior that doesn’t add any direct value to your life. 

It’s also an addiction if you spend a large chunk of your day recovering from the effects of the behavior. 

Increased Dependence

If your reliance on the behavior continues to increase over time, chances are it’s becoming more of an addiction than a positive habit. 

Behavioral addictions are often used as coping mechanisms, meaning you might indulge in the specific behavior when dealing with adversity. 

Indulging in the Behavior Despite Its Negative Effects

You’ll know it’s a behavioral addiction if you continue indulging in a behavior despite its negative effects on your work, school, or social activities and relationships. 

For instance, you can continue gambling despite being fully aware of the negative effect the behavior has on your personal relationship and finances. 

Difficulty Quitting

Drug addictions work by altering the brain’s function such that your body can’t function well without the substance. 

As a result, you’ll find it hard to quit a behavioral addiction once your body becomes dependent on it. 

Quitting a behavioral addiction might prove difficult, especially if you’ve been addicted for a lengthy period. Therefore, you’ll know you’re struggling with behavioral addiction if you find it impossible to quit the behavior despite its obvious negative effects. 


Is your behavior a secret? Or are you constantly minimizing the extent of the dependence or problem? If so, then chances are you are struggling with behavioral addiction and need assistance to overcome the issue. 

Is It Possible To Overcome Behavioral Addiction?

It is possible to overcome behavioral addiction either on your own or with the support of licensed professionals. 

Although difficult, quitting bad habits cold turkey is possible, especially if you’ve not been addicted for long, 

But if you’ve been struggling with addictive behaviors like porn, gambling, sex, shopping and even gaming, then you might need to seek professional assistance. 

Therapists can assess your unique situation and recommend the best treatment programs for your behavioral addiction. 

Get Help Today

Don't go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you're facing. Get in touch with one today.

Make a Call

Where Can I Receive Behavioral Addiction Treatment?

You can receive behavioral addiction treatment in a licensed rehab facility. However, since not all rehabs treat behavioral addictions, it’s best to inquire beforehand about the types of addictions treated. 

Some rehabs treat a variety of behavioral addictions, from gambling to sex, pornography, plastic surgery, and even internet addiction. 

Contact a licensed rehab center today to kickstart your behavioral addiction treatment and take charge of your life. 

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