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Does My Loved One Have A Behavioral Addiction?

Behavioral addictions are similar to drug or alcohol addictions in that dopamine and other neurotransmitters are released whenever a gratifying activity is undertaken. 

And although ‘behaviors’ don’t lead to physical dependence like alcohol and other drugs, they can lead to addiction. This usually occurs when people engage in potentially destructive-yet gratifying- behavior to cope with stress, anxiety, or any underlying issues. 

Therefore, just like a loved one can become addicted to mind-altering substances, so too, can they develop behavioral addictions. 

Detecting behavioral addictions can prove hard, especially since they rarely have any physical symptoms before advancing to chronic levels. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the main symptoms of behavioral addiction and ways you can treat the condition before it gets the better of your loved one. 

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The Main Types of Behavioral Addiction

Behavioral addiction is a highly contentious topic, as most mental health professionals are yet to recognize it as a true form of ‘addiction.’ 

However, several healthcare providers and other stakeholders believe that due to its ability to alter brain function and lead to dependence, behavioral addiction is a serious condition that requires professional intervention. 

Below are some of the common types of behavioral addictions that your loved one might be struggling with: 

  • Gambling 
  • Sex 
  • Pornography and masturabation
  • Internet 
  • Gaming 
  • Food 
  • Risky behavior
  • Plastic surgery

It’s crucial to note that there are different types of behavioral addictions, and their intensity varies from individual to individual. 

While some people can indulge in some of these behaviors without getting addicted, others derive a unique form of pleasure that leads to dependence, especially when used as coping mechanisms. 

Sex, gambling, food, and pornography (and masturbation) addictions are common behavioral addictions that are even treated in several rehab facilities in the country. 

These behaviors usually start as mildly before progressing into serious addictions that can negatively affect personal relationships, work, and school performance, and reduce overall life quality.

Signs of Behavioral Addiction 


If your loved one has become increasingly distant and unavailable, then he or she might be struggling with a behavioral addiction. 

Most if not all behavioral addictions are done privately since, after all, they’re potentially destructive behaviors that would be called out by friends or other affected parties. 

Strained Relationships

Similar to drug and alcohol addictions, behavioral addiction can strain both professional and personal relationships. 

For instance, gambling addiction can badly mess up a family’s finances, thereby increasing the chances of separation or even divorce in worst-case scenarios.  

The same goes for addictions like sex and pornography, which more often than not lead to infidelity, effectively increasing chances of separation or divorce. 

Internet addiction can also strain professional relationships due to reduced productivity at work. 

Behavior Change

Untreated behavioral addiction eventually leads to behavior change. You’ll notice a gradual change in behavior. And when you highlight the issue, your loved one will almost certainly deny and act offended as a way to keep the addiction under wraps. 

However, as the addiction worsens, the behavior change will become evident. Besides withdrawal, your loved one is also likely to lose interest in activities they were once fond of. 

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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

How Can My Loved One Overcome A Behavioral Addiction?

You can help your loved one overcome an underlying behavioral addiction by being supportive. 

Instead of making insensitive comments, it’s best to approach affected people with care and compassion. 

Additionally, if you suspect that the behavioral addiction is getting out of hand, then you can seek professional assistance by enrolling your loved one in a professional treatment center. 

Most rehabs offer behavioral addiction treatment services as part of their treatment programs. 

Contact a licensed facility today to inquire about the services offered and enroll your loved one for professional treatment. 

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