Process Addictions

Coaching for Process Addictions

Process addiction also referred to as behavioral addiction, is an addiction characterized by obsessive, compulsive urges to partake in specific behaviors. Individuals who struggle with process addictions often partake in behaviors despite negative consequences that take a toll on an individual’s emotional, interpersonal, or physical well-being. Unlike addictions involving drugs and alcohol, the behaviors provide a natural reward or euphoria for individuals struggling with process addictions. Compulsive behaviors fuel behavioral addictions while causing distress in many areas of an individual’s life. At alteredSTATE, we help individuals bridge the gap between these maladaptive behaviors and help them learn to develop new, healthy coping mechanisms.

What is a Process Addiction?

Most people associate addiction with substances, however, addictions can occur without the involvement of drugs and/or alcohol. Behavioral addictions are habitual and provide the individual with an emotional high which encourages the person to continue engaging in potentially dangerous and reckless behaviors. Process addictions are similarly classified as obsessive and compulsive behaviors that are harmful to an individual’s overall well-being. Despite the detrimental effects of process addictions, an individual will continue to partake in the behaviors and will often feel guilt and shame following their actions.

Characteristics of Process Addictions

Process addictions do not include substances but they do share similar characteristics with drug and alcohol addictions. Much like substance addictions, individuals with process addictions are unable to control their behaviors. Furthermore, a person with a process addiction will remain obsessed with certain behaviors and willing to go to any length to avoid the discomfort associated with stopping the action. Despite the adverse outcomes, an individual struggling with a process addiction will continue to partake in the behavior in order to achieve the next emotional high. 

Some various types of process addictions include:

  • Sex/Love addiction
  • Shopping addiction
  • Technology/Internet addiction
  • Work addiction
  • Porn addiction
  • Gambling addiction
  • Video game addiction
  • Exercise addiction
  • Disordered food addictions
  • Social media addictions
  • Self-harm addictions
  • Risky behaviors like stealing/lying
  • Codependency

Process Addictions: Signs and Symptoms

Several signs and symptoms of process addiction mimic the signs and symptoms of drug or alcohol addiction. There are several signs and symptoms that may indicate that your loved one has a process addiction. Some of the most common symptoms of process addiction include:

  • Spending an excessive amount of time obsessing or compulsively partaking in the behavior
  • Continuing to engage in a behavior despite negative physical, financial, or emotional consequences
  • Inability to stop a behavior, including unsuccessful attempts to stop
  • Reduced ability to control compulsive behaviors
  • Abandoning occupational, academic, and family responsibilities due to the behavior
  • Using the behavior to cope and avoid difficult emotions and feelings
  • Minimizing the magnitude of the problems associated with the behavior
  • Developing a tolerance to the behavior – the need to increase the frequency or intensity of the behavior to continue receiving the desired effect from it
  • Experiencing emotional withdrawal when attempting to stop or avoid the behavior
  • Developing mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, irritability, or substance addiction once the behavior stops

Genetics, family history, societal, and environmental factors can influence the development of process addictions. Euphoric emotional rewards are stimulated in the brain of an individual struggling with process addictions. Therefore, the person will continue to engage in the behaviors, despite negative consequences. Similar to drug and alcohol addiction risk factors, trauma, neglect, stress, or a dysfunctional home life can also lead to the development of a process addiction. Individuals may engage in addictive behaviors in order to alleviate stress and many other negative emotions. Co-occurring mental health disorders are also common amongst individuals who may engage in process addictions. Ultimately, process addictions can exacerbate the symptoms of underlying co-occurring disorders as well.

Addictive Behaviors Recovery Coaching

Recovery from addictive behaviors often involves some type of professional intervention. Process addictions can have detrimental impacts on a person’s familial, occupational, personal, academic, and financial life if left untreated. Recovery coaching is beneficial for individuals seeking treatment for process addictions.

Identifying unhealthy, negative process addictions is the first step in working with your recovery coach. Your recovery coach will help you adopt a positive mindset while focusing on your individual strengths as you being your journey to recovering from addictive behaviors. Tony will work one on one with you to create a customized lesson plan to focus on your needs and goals. Remember, we are all recovering from something and with the help of Tony’s recovery coaching you will not walk through the process of addressing your process addictions alone.

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