Common Behavioral Addictions

Common Behavioral Addictions

What is Behavior?

Behavior can be described as the manner in which we act. They are often a response to a situation or a stimulus in the environment. Behavior is driven and causes many things in our lives. An individual’s goal-driven behavior motivates them to achieve their goals. For instance, one might have a goal to earn a certain amount of money by the end of the year; they will form a plan of action to use their resources efficiently to achieve that goal.

Types of Behavior-

There are different types of behavior that drive us. Some of them are-

· Reflexive- Behaviors carried out on reflex, for example, dodging a ball thrown at you.

· Instinctual- Many of the instinctual behaviors are instinct-driven and most of the reflexes can be categorized as innate. For instance, a baby on the lookout for a nipple to gain nourishment is an inborn behavior.

They can be highly rewarding and addictive based on the chemical they produce in our brains.

As some behaviors produce highly addictive chemicals such as dopamine, and oxytocin, which leads them to be repetitive.

Behavioral addictions are different from substance addictions as no substance is involved.

Signs you might have a behavioral addictions –

  •  Spending the bulk of your precious time engaging in the activity, planning to engage in the addictive behavior, or recovering from the after-effects.
  •  Developing a reliance on the addictive behavior to manage distressing feelings and “function normally”
  • Continuing to engage in the addictive behavior even when it has caused you to harm physically and/or mentally.
  •  Having difficulty leaving or stooping this behavior but having frequent relapses.
  • Ignoring work, school, or family in order to indulge in the habit more frequently
  • When attempting to stop, experiencing withdrawal symptoms (such as irritability or anger).
  • Minimizing or concealing the nature and intensity of the problem from loved ones.

Types of Behavioral Addictions –

When we think of addictions, we most often think of substance abuse. But what we often do not consider is certain behaviors that are so addictive that one zona out while doing it. Some of these addictions might not raise an eye as they can be socially acceptable or appraised.

· Mobile Phone Addiction-

Mobile phones are highly addictive as they connect us to different people around the world. One finds themselves unable to de-attach from their mobiles wherever they may go to an extent that they might experience severe anxiety when their phone is taken away from them. One might find themselves lying to others about their smartphone usage and being unable to focus in their work or spend quality time with their loved ones. People with this addiction are highly likely to be in accidents while driving or even walking on roads.

· Gambling Addiction-

This addiction resembles substance addiction the most out of many. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) classifies gambling disorder/addiction as an addictive illness. Gambling addictions, according to research, engage the very same regions of our brain as substance abuse behavior, and therapy for gambling disorders is typically provided in the same clinics that also treat patients for drug addictions.

· Shopping Addiction-

Shopping would be another behavior that, when out of control, is classified as an impulsive controlling disorder. One buys things to prevent feeling unhappy, but then end up feeling guilty about all the shopping. According to studies, obsessive shopping affects more women than men and it can cause significant financial and personal problems.

· Video Game Addiction-

Studies have found that gaming addiction is most common in boys and men, indicating that 1 in 10 gamers aged from 8 to 18 is highly likely to be addicted to gaming. It is most probably due to mobile gaming becoming more accessible, that individuals sometimes even end up spending lakhs in mobile gaming or killing their family members.

· Risk Taking Addiction-

A lot of individuals indulge in adventurous activities such as bungee jumping, sky diving, etc, but not to an extent where it becomes dysfunctional for them to go back to their ordinary lives. Risk-taking behavior is highly addictive as the brain produces adrenaline while carrying out such tasks and once the activity is over, one needs it in a higher quantity, leading them to participate in more dangerous activities that threaten their lives more.

· Exercise Addiction-

For starters, this behavioral addictions is maladaptive, which means that rather than enhancing a person’s life, it exacerbates it. Exercise addiction can endanger one’s health by causing accidents, physical damage from insufficient rest, and, in certain cases starvation and other issues. 

Second, it is persistent, thus an exercise addict exercises excessively and for excessively long periods of time without an adequate resting period.  We all overexert ourselves from time to time and normally recover by resting. People with exercise addiction, on the other hand, exercise for countless hours every day, regardless of exhaustion or illness. If the individual’s primary means of coping with stress is not available, they experience worry, annoyance, or emotional discomfort.

· Plastic Surgery Addiction-

Some people have plastic surgery to beautify their physical features like lips, nose, and forehead. But some people get multiple plastic surgeries to enhance their features. People who have a proclivity for plastic surgery may run from doctor to doctor excessively until they locate a plastic surgeon that would treat them. The truth is that these individuals are more likely to suffer from a severe form of mental disorder known as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) than from a cosmetic surgery addiction. According to the International OCD Foundation, about 1 to 2% of the population suffers from body dysmorphic disorder, and the disorder is estimated to be many times more prevalent among plastic surgery patients. People suffering from this disorder are obsessed with their appearance and believe they are ugly or misshapen.

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