What Are Some Behavioral Addictions?

We commonly associate addiction with dependence on drugs and alcohol, but as addicts we know that any substance or behavior can become addictive for us. We can use anything to try and self-medicate our mental health issues, to numb our pain and cope with the demands of our lives. When we are trying to escape the traumatic experiences and losses we’ve sustained, when we’re trying to avoid our pain, we’ll use pretty much anything that brings us some relief, that provides us with a temporary distraction, that makes us feel happier and lighter than our pain does. What are some behavioral addictions we commonly suffer from?

Gambling and gaming are among the most common behavioral addictions we tend to struggle with. People report being so addicted that they invest, and lose, thousands of dollars and years of their time to their addictions. They find temporary refuge in the stimulation, excitement and adrenaline-rush of the games. The thrill of the high, of winning money, of risking it all feels worlds better than the emotional pain we’re trying to escape.

Many of us identify as love and sex addicts, and our addictions revolve around dating and relationships. We can find ourselves unable to stop the sexual behaviors that we’re unhappy with, that we later regret and that make us feel ashamed. We can feel powerless against this uncontrollable force. We can feel unable to end a relationship that is toxic, unhealthy or abusive. We might feel unable to stop engaging in risky or dangerous sexual behaviors that put our health at risk, such as casual, unprotected sex with strangers. We might love our partners but feel unable to be faithful to them. We might find ourselves compulsively using pornography, paying for sex or engaging in other behaviors that make us feel disappointed in ourselves, depressed, ashamed and regretful.

Eating disorders and other food-related behaviors can become addictions. We can binge eat until we’re sick, or on the other end, starve ourselves until our overall health is in shambles. We might use food as a coping mechanism for our anxiety and depression, or as an escape from our feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. We might become so obsessed with food, so preoccupied with our consumption of it, that our eating habits and the food we eat are the objects of our addiction.

Any behavior can become addictive, even those that are part of a normal, healthy lifestyle such as eating and sex. Whenever we’re trying to use something as a coping mechanism to try and escape our pain, we are most likely forming a dependence that can easily develop into an addiction.

Corner Canyon Health Centers seeks innovative and research validated modalities in order to improve outcomes and maintain client progress after discharge. Healing and optimizing the brain, the top priority at Corner Canyon, enables clients to feel better and make better choices, which reduces recidivism compared to traditional treatment programs. Call 1-866-399-3469 today.

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Liz Lund, MPA

Liz is originally from lush green Washington State. She is a life enthusiast and a huge fan of people. Liz has always loved learning why people are the way they are. She moved to UT in 2013 and completed her bachelors degree in Psychology in 2016. After college Liz worked at a residential treatment center and found that she was not only passionate about people, but also administration. Liz is recently finished her MPA in April 2022. Liz loves serving people and is excited and looking forward to learning about; and from our clients here at Corner Canyon.
When Liz is not busy working she love being outdoors, eating ice cream, taking naps, and spending time with her precious baby girl and sweet husband.