Process AddictionProcess addictions are serious disorders that can ruin and control someone’s life. There are many different types of process addictions, each with a different distinguishing behavior. The behaviors are all preformed in order to cope with the stress of life, and initially to feel a sense of pleasure instead of facing uncomfortable emotions or realities.

Here are some common process addictions:

  • Gambling Addiction
  • Exercise Addition
  • Sexual/Love Addiction
  • Shopping Addiction
  • Overeating
  • Video Games/Internet Addiction
  • Cutting/Self-harm
  • Work Addiction
  • Religion
  • Money
  • Fetishes and more

Are Process Addictions and Substance Abuse Addiction similar?

A process addiction is similar to a chemical/substance abuse addiction in how the substance or behavior stimulates the brain. When someone with a process addiction performs their addictive behavior the brain gets a rush of dopamine, relieving stress and anxiety, and experiencing pleasure. Drugs act in the same way: if an alcoholic drinks, their brain is releasing dopamine and experiences pleasure. Why is this a problem you may be asking? When someone gets a rush of dopamine from a substance or behavior it only lasts a short amount of time. In order for someone to maintain this state of pleasure they need to perform the same action, such as exercising, shopping, or working, routinely and in larger quantities to feel pleasure. This need for more occurs because, over time, we get used to the rush of dopamine and as our tolerance increases, we need more and more to experience the same amount of pleasure. At some point these actions take the place of healthy coping skills and the actions are now there to compensate and keep us at a baseline. Soon the pleasure is gone but the actions remain; when process addiction has overpowered us, we are faced with a very unhealthy and sometimes dangerous lifestyle.

Process Addict: From Pleasure to Pain

The different process addictions and their behaviors initially give us pleasure, and typically the actions preformed are appropriate in moderation, such as shopping, having relationships, working, or playing video games. Once the process addiction has taken hold, these “activities” are no longer pleasurable. They have become a craving and addiction, without them we are frantic and don’t know how to cope. Without repetition, one can experience withdrawals, feeling controlled by the action and unable to resist doing it to an extreme that is harmful. Even when one wants to quit and change this is no simple task. The need to act out the process addiction takes precedence over all the other foundational and fundamental parts of a healthy and balanced life.

Freedom From Denial

It is not uncommon for people with a process addiction to be in denial and claim that their behavior is not a problem, when in fact, it is the focal point for most of their problems and short-comings. It is easy to minimize a process addiction and simply just say it is “what I do” or “how I choose to live my life.” We are only fooling ourselves and delaying the ability to confront our unhealthy behaviors and choose a path free from process addictions. The first step in overcoming denial is admitting that there is a problem and reaching out for help. Discover yourself and your ability to overcome your process addiction at Solutions Treatment Center.