What Process Addiction Is and How To Deal With It

Any kind of addiction can have a corrosive effect on a person’s life. This includes process addiction. Although films, TV shows, and other media commonly focus on drugs and alcohol in their portrayals of addiction, they often ignore the equally destructive capacity of addictive behaviors. Just like alcohol or any drug, certain behaviors are very addictive, and they can even ruin a person’s life. You want your loved ones to live happily and healthily, so if you believe that someone in your life struggles with addictive behaviors, then you should check out this guide on process addiction to learn more about their condition.

Process Addiction

What Is Process Addiction?

Process addiction is a psychological dependence on a certain behavior that causes a person to compulsively engage in the behavior despite its negative impact on their life. Like drugs or alcohol, certain behaviors engage a person’s reward system and cause the brain to release serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and various other mood-altering chemicals. This influx of chemicals results in feelings of contentment or satisfaction. As a person continues to engage in a behavior, their mind will release less and less serotonin as they develop a tolerance to the activity.

In turn, the individual has to engage in the same behavior more intensely or with greater frequency to achieve the same high. Eventually, the person will become addicted to the behavior. Even if their habit has a negative effect on their life, a patient who struggles with process addiction will have a hard time abstaining from the addictive behavior. A person can become addicted to any process that provides some degree of instant gratification. Common process addictions include:

  • Shopping addiction
  • Gambling addiction
  • Gaming addiction
  • Internet addiction
  • TV addiction
  • Sex addiction

What Are the Signs of Process Addiction?

Constantly Thinking About an Activity

Individuals who suffer from process addiction will have a hard time focusing on non-addictive behaviors. Even when they’re not directly able to engage in a behavior, they may constantly discuss the process with people around them, consume media related to the process on their digital devices, or make plans to engage in the process at a later time. Many process addicts make friends with people who engage in similar behaviors and spend a lot of time interacting with relevant communities to constantly talk about the addictive process. Over time, the addictive behavior will overtake a person’s interest in other behaviors or activities, and they may not have many friends or hobbies that are not somehow connected to their addiction.

Shirking Responsibilities

When someone is addicted to a process, the addictive behavior will take precedence over more important things. They may call out of work, fail to complete their schoolwork, neglect parental duties, or avoid other major obligations to spend more time engaging in an addictive process. For someone who struggles with process addiction, the short-term high from engaging in the process becomes more important than the long-term effects of neglecting their everyday responsibilities.

Financial Problems

Many addictive processes have a massive effect on a person’s financial health. For example, a gambling addict can easily waste tens of thousands of dollars in a single night. Consequently, they might have trouble paying rent, providing for their children, or fulfilling other financial obligations. Because addictive processes often affect a person’s reputation and workplace performance, individuals who struggle with process addiction may also have difficulty finding or maintaining gainful employment.

Poor Self-Care

Showering, eating, brushing and flossing, and other everyday routines take time and can get in the way of a person’s ability to engage in addictive behaviors. For this reason, many process addicts have poor hygiene, and some even develop serious health conditions as a result of their poor self-care. If someone in your life constantly skips meals or fails to maintain basic hygiene because they’re too busy playing games or gambling, then that’s a clear sign that they have an addiction.

Feelings of Distress

If someone who struggles with process addiction is unable to engage in an addictive behavior for too long, then they will eventually experience severe mental distress. They may become depressed, angry, or irritable until they have an opportunity to perform the addictive behavior. When they finally regain access to the addictive activity after prolonged abstinence, they may engage in the process more intensely than usual.

Knowingly Taking Risks

The short-term high from engaging in a process can blind a person to major risks associated with their behaviors. For example, someone who suffers from sex addiction might have unprotected sex with multiple lovers despite the high risk of contracting HIV or another serious infection. In some cases, a person’s process addiction might even put their loved ones in danger.

Emotional Avoidance

Instead of confronting negative feelings, process addicts might simply engage in the addictive activity as an avoidance mechanism. Because avoiding negative emotions doesn’t address the root causes of their feelings, people who struggle with process addiction are more likely to develop other mental health problems. As their emotional state worsens, they will cope with their feelings by engaging in the addictive process more frequently.

Are There Treatments Available for Process Addiction?

Thankfully, individuals who struggle with process addiction don’t have to suffer alone. These days, the best recovery centers have high-quality process addiction treatment programs to help people overcome their harmful habits. Most patients benefit greatly from starting their treatment in an inpatient program. During their inpatient stay, the patient will be under constant supervision, so they won’t be able to engage in addictive behaviors. Most addiction recovery programs incorporate individual therapies, group therapy, healthy activities, and other kinds of therapies into their treatment regimen.

Your therapist will use a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and other useful techniques to help you understand the root causes of your addiction and develop healthy coping mechanisms to avoid addictive behaviors. During group sessions, you will discuss your experiences with other individuals who suffer from addiction and gain valuable insights from their struggles. Once you have developed the necessary skills to live on your own and avoid addictive behaviors, you will transfer to an outpatient program. In an outpatient program, you’ll live at home, but you’ll still regularly commute to the treatment facility for addiction therapies. As you continue to make progress, you and your doctor may decide that you don’t need to attend therapy sessions at the facility anymore, and you’ll meet with a local addiction support group instead.

Can Other Mental Health Disorders Contribute to Process Addiction?

Process addiction and other mental health disorders such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, and anxiety can exacerbate each other in a vicious cycle. Thankfully, any therapist who treats process addiction will also help patients manage other mental health conditions. High-quality addiction treatment centers have the best psychotherapists on staff, and they work closely with each patient to devise the most effective treatment plan for their unique needs.

Addictive Behaviors Can Ruin a Person’s Life

You cannot thrive while you struggle with process addiction. If you wait too long to tackle your addiction, then you may end up sabotaging your future. You don’t have to let an addictive behavior control your life. If you’re sick of spending all of your time, money, and resources on processes that harm your health, relationships, and emotional wellbeing, then you need to call or email Long Island Interventions today to take your first step down the path to a brighter future.

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