In the program of recovery from drugs and alcohol, we may find ourselves engaging in addictive behaviors unrelated to substance abuse. These behaviors are capable of maintaining the disease of addiction by replacing substances with any number of activities that also affect the reward system of our brain. Process addictions can include gambling, eating, shopping, sex, or video games, or any other behavior that an individual feels they cannot stop engaging in despite negative consequences to his or her life. According to the American Addiction Centers, “often, it is assumed that physical dependence characterized by withdrawal symptoms is required in order for someone to be diagnosed with an addiction disorder, but the fact is that behavioral addiction can occur with all the negative consequences in a person’s life minus the physical issues faced by people who compulsively engage in drug and alcohol abuse.” As men and women suffering from the disease of addiction and alcoholism, we may find ourselves in great danger of replacing substances with other activities or behaviors and becoming dependent them in much the same way as we were to drugs and alcohol. In fact, according to Angie D. Wilson, Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University Commerce, in her article “Counselors’ Understanding of Process Addictions: A Blind Spot in the Counseling Field”: “the neurological changes in the brains of people who engaged in gambling, binge eating, and compulsive sex were similar to those brains of person who abused substances such as alcohol and marijuana”. The International Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study in 2012 entitled “Behavioral Addiction versus Substance Addiction: Correspondence of Psychiatric and Psychological Views” which found that “contrary to commonly held belief that holds addiction to be a particular kind of dependence on drugs and chemical substances such as alcohol, nicotine and heroin, behavior science experts believe that any source which is capable of stimulating and individual, could become addictive”. As men and women attempting to recover from the disease of addiction, we must remain aware of our susceptibility toward any form of addictive behavior. In the past, our addiction may have been substance-based, but that does not mean we cannot transfer our addictive thought processes to other behaviors. Much like we did with alcohol and drugs, we can fall into the traps of addictive behaviors until we find ourselves powerless and our lives unmanageable once again. In recovery, our goal is to recover from a hopeless state of body and mind, and we must stay aware of any forms of addiction that threaten to place us back into a position of hopelessness, even those forms of addiction that are not derived from drugs or alcohol.
You can make the choice to change the story of your life. Oceanfront Recovery is a treatment center with a professional and compassionate staff of detoxification specialists dedicated to making the process as comfortable as possible. For more information about Drug and Alcohol Detox Programs or other treatment options, please call: (877) 279-1777