Addiction 101

Process Addictions

Recovering from a process addiction doesn't have to be difficult; Caron is here to help.

Process addictions are impulsive behaviors and activities that do not involve drugs, alcohol, or other substances such as shopping, gambling, sexual behavior, pornography, disordered eating, internet use, and exercise, are examples of common process addictions. Process addictions deteriorate a person's physical and mental well-being, sabotage relationships, and may result in legal or financial issues. They are like drug and alcohol addiction, though, and should not be left untreated.

When struggling with a process addiction, you can experience withdrawal symptoms. This may be difficult to recognize at first, but as the person begins to refrain from the behavior or activity associated with the process of addiction, withdrawal symptoms may manifest – including depression, anxiety, and irritability.

Though these addictions are not always fatal, it’s important to note that some can lead to tragic consequences. Many people lose their jobs, homes, and relationships due to unchecked process addiction. Young individuals are among those most vulnerable to developing a gambling addiction, with rates ranging from 0.1% to 6%, according to the World Health Organization. Up to 14% of college students report problem gambling. According to statistics on compulsion in sexual behavior and sex addiction, 3-6% of adults in the United States suffer from hypersexual disorders. The percentage of Americans that play video games recreationally is high, at 59%. Adults, in general, have a 4.9% addiction to shopping. 5–25% of people struggle with work addiction. Furthermore, according to statistics on food and eating disorders, the prevalence is 11.1% in people of normal weight and 25% in populations with obesity.

Process addictions are just as powerful – if not more so – than drug or alcohol addictions and can cause significant harm to the person and those around them. Process addictions involve shopping, gambling, sex, eating disorders (bingeing and purging), exercise, gaming, internet use, and work.

Genetic, environmental, and psychological factors can cause process addictions. Stressful life events, unresolved trauma, depression, or anxiety may lead to the development of the addiction.

For those struggling with process addictions, seeking professional help is important. A medically supervised detox allows for a safe and monitored withdrawal from the behavior or activity associated with the addiction. Detox is often followed by counseling, therapy, and lifestyle changes that promote overall well-being.

Process addictions can have a detrimental effect on the individual’s physical and mental health. They can lead to significant financial distress, loss of relationships, and an overall decreased quality of life.

Process addictions are just as powerful, often more so than drug or alcohol addiction. Quitting without professional help is not recommended. Seeking help from a certified healthcare provider can increase the chances of successful recovery.

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