What are Process Addictions?

Too many times it is assumed that an addiction disorder must always entail a severe dependence on a physical object followed by grueling pain from withdrawal symptoms. The truth, however, is that physical dependence is not as central to the diagnosis of addiction as many would like to think. There are situations, for instance, where all the negative consequences of addiction occur in a person’s life and there is absolutely no physical object involved. Instead, what causes the addiction is nothing but a behavioral tendency. This is what is known as process or behavioral addiction. For today’s blog post, let’s answer the question- What are process addictions?

Process/Behavioral Addictions

Just like it is in cases of drug and alcohol abuse, certain behaviors in themselves are capable of producing a “high” in an individual that causes them to continually engage in this activity, despite the fact that it has already started having a negative impact on their lives. Sometimes the negative impact from process addiction is strictly psychological, but sometimes it can also be physical. So despite the fact that there is no physical object to blame, these processes nonetheless adversely affect the way the individual functions at home and as a member of the community. Dealing with process addiction, just as it is with drug/alcohol addiction, usually requires treatment and intervention.

General Symptoms of Process/Behavioral Addictions

There are a handful of signs one should be on the lookout for to identify process addiction in its early stages. We list some of these below:

  • Losing control over one’s ability to stop engaging in a behavior
  • Spending too much time planning on partaking in a certain behavior
  • Continuous engagement in certain activities even when it clearly causes negative physical/psychological consequences
  • Sacrificing family, academic, or social responsibilities to satisfy the urge to partake in this activity
  • When the behavior serves as a way to escape difficult emotions
  • Going through pain and discomfort, either physical or emotional, when not partaking in certain activities

Examples of Process Addictions

Gambling Addiction

Individuals having an overwhelming desire to always gamble no matter the consequences the act has on their lives. These  are examples of a process addiction, particularly gambling addiction in this case. Gambling addictions don’t end at casinos and slot machines alone. Activities such as playing the lottery, entering raffles, constantly placing wagers with friends and families can all serve as playgrounds for severe gambling addictions. Symptoms include debt and financial hardships occurred as a result of compulsive gambling, lifestyle altered to accommodate perpetual gambling, and an inability to walk away from a potential bet.

Sex and Love Addiction

The overwhelming desire to always have sex and fixate on sexual activities is a form of process addiction known as sex addiction. Love addiction occurs when an individual has a compulsive desire to always pursue romantic love and satisfaction. Usually this is done for selfish reasons, such as using love as a way to achieve a sense of self-worth and security. Both love and sex addiction may lead individuals to enter into seriously unhealthy relationships and end up suffering severe physical or psychological pain as a result.

Work Addiction

That’s right, it is absolutely possible for an individual to be addicted to their work. This usually occurs when a person cannot stay away from working to the point where an absence from work causes them to feel fear and/or guilt. Usually, the commitment to constant working in work addiction tends to serve as a huge detriment to the individual’s personal life and emotional well-being. Work addiction can be a product of personal motivation, financial tightness, record chasing, or fear of losing one’s job.

Internet Addiction

Extreme internet usage may result in a process addiction known as internet addiction, which itself is usually the precursor to various mental health inconveniences. Individuals addicted to the internet usually have a hard time managing their time and may ultimately experience conditions such as loss of sleep, depression, obesity, and impaired social skills.


Other notable forms of behavioral addictions include porn addiction, food addiction, video game addiction, and exercise addiction. North Jersey Rehabs offers a comprehensive array of programs specialized in treating process addictions in New Jersey.

What Exactly Triggers Process Addictions

Process addictions generally occur as a result of various societal, environmental, and even genetic conditions. Regardless of the underlying cause, however, the common factor for a process addiction is the presence of a feeling of elation when reward pathways are stimulated in the brain during these activities. This stimulation causes a desire for repetition, which, again triggers even more stimulation and even more repetition. On an individual level, process addictions may sometimes occur as a result of past trauma, feeling of neglect, stress, or an unhappy home.

Acknowledging Behavioral Addictions

Acknowledging behavioral addictions can be a huge challenge not just from those who are experiencing the addiction, but also for those around them. It is easy to gloss over the negative consequences of our destructive behavior, and only focus on the fleeting, occasional positives (at least they feel good for a while, right?) The bitter truth, however, is that addiction, in whatever form it takes, is a disease on the brain. It has a tendency to flutter out of control and cause major problems in the near future, sometimes irrevocable ones. This is why it is imperative that as someone who is experiencing process addiction, or knows someone who is, we should acknowledge, speak up, and take action before it’s too late.

Treating Process Addictions in New Jersey

The prudent step to take after identifying and acknowledging process addiction in ourselves or our loved ones is to seek treatment. Luckily, there are many programs geared towards treating different kinds of behavioral addictions that have proved remarkably effective all through the years. Detox support, diagnosis and evaluation, and establishing a solid treatment plan are all services that can be obtained from a treatment center for those who need it. Family support is also important, and all of these processes can be ingrained in each other by a good treatment center. Are you or your loved one in need of behavioral addiction treatment? Treating process addiction in New Jersey is our specialization at North Jersey Rehabs. Contact us today for a full range of holistic solutions sure to help you get your life back.



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