Sex is a healthy part of many people's lives, but it can turn into a behavioral addiction. This addiction is characterized by compulsive sexual behavior. For some people, this means excessive consumption of pornography or masturbation. For others, addiction to sex means engaging in sexual behavior with their partners.
Regardless of how addiction is expressed, it usually comes at the expense of your relationships and, potentially, your health. Video games are a common behavioral addiction. While this activity can be a fun way to relax or spend time with friends, it can turn into an unhealthy dependency. A video game addict will prioritize gaming over relationships and other activities.
This addiction, like many others, can interfere with responsibilities such as education and work. It can also cause financial problems. Some people will continue to buy games or improve their gaming experience, even though they don't have the money to do so. Behavioral addictions, such as gambling, also have negative financial consequences.
Compulsive gambling, like other addictions, is driven by the sense of reward that comes from placing bets. No matter how many losses you experience, compulsion drives you to continue. Gambling addicts can drain their savings, destroy relationships, and even steal to further fuel their behavior. Treating behavioral addictions, such as gambling, eating, shopping, and sex, can be addressed in a number of different ways.
Some people will find it helpful to attend support groups, which offer an opportunity to talk to people who are going through a similar experience. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you recognize and change harmful behavioral patterns. Just like we do here at Synergy Recovery, medications can also be used to combat withdrawal and relapse. While there are thousands of different types of addictions, most of them fit perfectly into one of three categories.
The categories are substance addictions, impulse control disorders, and behavioral addictions. There is some overlap between the three categories, but they are still a useful way to classify types of addiction. As with chemical addiction, many different factors can contribute to behavioral addictions. Treatment approaches may vary, but therapy is often the first recommendation.
A type of therapy known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that is usually most useful for behavioral addictions. Other types of therapy can also help address underlying problems that could play a role in behavioral addiction, such as relationship concerns. Self-help groups and other types of peer support can help with behavioral addiction, especially when used in combination with therapy. Addiction is a chronic illness, such as diabetes or hypertension, and requires the guidance of a medical professional.
Addressing addiction requires both physical and mental lifestyle changes, Stoletniy says. Treatment options may include medical treatment of withdrawal symptoms, cognitive behavioral therapy, or residential rehabilitation. It may also include a combination of different treatments.