A behavioral addiction is a compulsion engaging in pleasurable behaviors despite the negative – often destructive – results it may cause in a person’s life. Such excessive behaviors include gambling, food, pornography or cravings for constant sexual intercourse, use of computers, video games, internet & other digital media, exercise, shopping, etc.
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Anxiety disorders are characterized by constant and overwhelming sense of fear and worry, often accompanied by somatic symptoms, such as muscle tension, trembling, sweating, heart palpitations etc and the person may develop avoidance behavior, which, long term, will worsen the fear of the phobic situation. Agitation, depression, alcohol or drug addiction are some of the complications of chronic stress.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and agoraphobia. Concurrence of 2 or more anxiety disorders is very common.
Each case is unique so treatment has to be adjusted accordingly to each person’s differentiated history and current levels of compulsion. Medication is used in most – but not all – cases to eliminate the dysphoria that the discontinuation of a certain behavior might cause. Psychotherapy and relaxing activities are the backbone of the treatment.
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Behavioral addictions are non-substance addictions, like constant gambling or internet addictions, and are a set of repeated behaviors that a person becomes dependent on. Substance addiction is the abuse of alcohol or drugs. Both types of addictions can become the major focus of a person’s life and can harm the individual physically, mentally, or socially.
Technology has played a crucial role to the rise of gaming, sexual and internet addictions. With a plethora of dating apps and free pornography, people nowadays seem to indulge much easier in sexually compulsive behaviors. Online gaming offers an escape from reality developing gaming addictions to a major percentage of adolescents and young adults. People also tend to obsessively check their social media and emails and are often diagnosed with an internet addiction.
Behavioral addictions can be treated. Psychotherapies or cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) are some examples of treatments that help identify harmful patterns in behavior and help by reshaping thinking to promote healthier behaviors in one’s lifestyle.