Behavioural addiction

Do you continue to place bets despite being in financial trouble? Perhaps you can’t resist buying just one more purchase? Or maybe you struggle to spend less time online? If you frequently engage in compulsive behaviours that negatively affect your life, it is possible that you have a behavioural addiction.

Gaining control of a behavioural addiction may seem like an impossible task – maybe you tried time and time again, but your compulsions have always won. Oasis Runcorn can help you leap over this hurdle and find the peace you deserve.

What is a behavioural addiction?

A behavioural addiction, also known as a process addiction or impulse control disorder, refers to a pattern of compulsive, repetitive behaviours that you participate in despite any negative consequences. These behaviours can become so consuming that they interfere with your daily functioning, relationship and overall wellbeing.

Types of behavioural addiction

There are many different types of behavioural addictions – in fact, anything that gives us pleasure holds the potential to lead to addiction. The types of behavioural addictions we treat at Oasis Runcorn include:

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Gambling addiction

From online poker to slot machines to sports bets, the compulsive desire to gamble can have devastating consequences and is a surprisingly common behavioural addiction with 3.8% of the population gambling at elevated risk.

Gambling addiction →

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Internet addiction

The internet is ingrained into everyday life, with access to it at the tips of your fingers. It is no wonder that some individuals develop an addiction to going online, using it excessively to the point where it interferes with normal functioning.

Internet addiction →

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Sex & love addiction

If you are unable to control your sexual desires or feel an overwhelming need to experience love, you could be suffering from this behavioural addiction. If you would like to learn more, click the button below.

Sex & love addiction →

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Porn addiction

As a taboo subject, it can be difficult to know how much is too much when it comes to porn. If your porn consumption is starting to negatively impact your life in any way, it could mean that you have an addiction. Click the button below to learn more.

Porn addiction →

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Food addiction

Also referred to as compulsive overeating, food addiction can make you feel like you have no control over how much you consume. This is often a coping mechanism for underlying issues, such as stress or low self-esteem.

Food addiction →

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Gaming addiction

Playing video games may seem like an innocent hobby, and this is the case for many, but when it spills over to addiction, it will begin to take priority over everything else in your life. Click the button below if you would like to learn more.

Gaming addiction →

No matter which behavioural addiction you may be experiencing, you do not have to suffer alone. Oasis Runcorn can provide the tools you need to overcome your issues and bring back joy to your life.

Behavioural addiction: spotting the signs

While behavioural addictions take many forms, there are some important signs that span every disorder. Some signs that could indicate a behavioural addiction include:

  • Preoccupation: It is likely that you will constantly think about the behaviour or activity, often planning and anticipating the next opportunity to engage in it.
  • Compulsion: You may feel a strong, uncontrollable urge to engage in the behaviour and experience a sense of relief or pleasure while doing so.
  • Loss of control: You may find it challenging to limit or stop the behaviour, despite repeated attempts to do so.
  • Negative consequences: Behavioural addictions can lead to various negative consequences, such as financial problems, relationship difficulties, physical health issues, emotional distress and impairment in occupational or academic functioning.
  • Escalation: Over time, you may find yourself needing to engage in the behaviour more frequently or intensely to achieve the same level of satisfaction or relief.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: When you are unable to engage in addictive behaviour, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, irritability, anxiety or depression.
  • Secrecy and denial: You might try to hide or downplay your behaviour and deny the negative impact it is having.

If you have noticed any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Behavioural addiction does not have to rule your life – with professional assistance, you can take back control.

What causes a behavioural addiction?

Behavioural addictions often involve activities that provide immediate gratification, leading to reinforcement and a desire for repeated engagement. When you take part in the behaviour, your brain’s reward system is stimulated and flooded with dopamine. For some, this results in cravings for more and more.

Of course, not everyone who participates in these behaviours becomes addicted. They are often caused by a complex array of biological, psychological and environmental factors. It is possible that more than one of these factors could be working in unison to cause your behavioural addiction.

  • Certain genetic variations can increase your susceptibility to addictive behaviours.
  • Underlying issues, such as low self-esteem or difficulties coping with stress or emotions, can make you more prone to behavioural addictions.
  • Mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, can contribute towards and exacerbate behavioural addictions.
  • Early exposure or easy access to the activity can promote and reinforce addictive behaviours.
  • Social and cultural influences can also play a role in the development of behavioural addictions, as the behaviour is used as an unhealthy coping mechanism to deal with trauma or stress.

It is important to note that everyone’s individual experience with behavioural addiction is unique. Understanding these underlying causes can help to determine the catalyst that led to your behavioural addiction, and benefit your recovery.

How does a behavioural addiction impact my life?

Behavioural addictions can have a significant impact on various areas of your life. In particular, behavioural addictions can take a toll on your mental and emotional health. You may experience increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression and irritability. The loss of control over the addictive behaviour and the negative consequences that arise from it can also lead to feelings of guilt and shame.

It is not only your mental health that suffers, but your physical health too. For example, sex addiction can increase your chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, and gaming addiction can cause sedentary behaviour, leading to obesity and other health issues.

Behavioural addictions can put a huge strain on relationships as you begin to prioritise your addiction above all else. Feelings of neglect and resentment can lead to conflict, trust issues may develop and immense stress can result in a complete breakdown in the relationship.

Your ability to function at work or school will also suffer. The excessive time and energy devoted to the addictive behaviour may result in decreased productivity, missed deadlines, poor concentration and impaired decision-making.

Behavioural addiction treatment

Oasis Runcorn offers effective behavioural addiction treatment at our rehab facility in Cheshire. In peaceful surroundings, you will be able to work with our team of experts, developing a deeper understanding of your behavioural addiction and the power to overcome it.

Some psychological withdrawal symptoms may present themselves when you abstain from addictive behaviour. However, detox generally applies to physical addiction. It is therefore unnecessary to undergo a detox period for a behavioural addiction. Instead, you will focus on therapy that addresses the psychological aspects of your behaviour.

Some of the therapies offered at Oasis Runcorn include:

  • Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT): Teaches you how to accept and manage emotions more effectively.
  • Group therapy: Promotes a sense of community and support as you work alongside others in similar circumstances.
  • Motivational interviewing: Helps to keep you focused and motivated in achieving your recovery goals
  • Relapse prevention: Develops a personalised plan for you to prevent relapse once you go back to your day-to-day life.
  • Family therapy: Aims to work through issues with your family members, promoting better communication and strengthening your relationships.

Once you have completed our programme, you will have access to free aftercare sessions, ensuring you feel supported as you continue your journey to replacing behavioural addiction with healthy and controlled coping mechanisms.

Freedom from behavioural addiction

Gaining freedom from your behavioural addiction will open you up to a range of different benefits. Some of these include:

  • Improved emotional and mental wellbeing
  • Empowerment to make healthier choices
  • Ability to rebuild relationships
  • Ability to regain financial stability
  • Better physical health
  • Personal growth
  • Sense of fulfilment and satisfaction

If you are tired of living life under the rule of your behavioural addiction, reach out to our team today. We can help you to reclaim your power.

Frequently asked questions

What is the hardest behavioural addiction to treat?
Every single behavioural addiction presents challenges when it comes to treatment, and the level of difficulty will vary on a case-by-case basis. All addictions are typically rooted in deep psychological and emotional wounds. Treatment will focus on healing these wounds and, in turn, rerouting the damaging behaviour.
Is behavioural addiction as bad as substance addiction?
Behavioural addiction is equally as serious as substance addiction and warrants attention and appropriate treatment to mitigate its detrimental effects. Both disorders contribute to physical and mental health issues and can have a devastating effect on every aspect of your life.