Planning a trip to Las Vegas? You don’t expect to become addicted to gambling. Going shopping for a new dress? You aren’t planning to really “shop ‘til you drop.” Checking your Facebook page? If you are like most Americans, you look at your smartphone regularly for email and social media updates.
All of these activities are normal and healthy for most people. But for some individuals, these harmless activities become destructive patterns of behavior that are obsessive—and, in many ways, mimic addiction.
Roots of Behavioral Addictions
You can become addicted to gambling, shopping, eating, playing video games, work, sex, exercise, TV, your smartphone, social media, and the list goes on. The addiction is not defined by the activity, but instead by your response to participating in that activity.
- Changes in the brain: As with addiction to drugs, some behavior addictions are characterized by stimulation in the part of the brain that controls pleasure and decision-making functions.
- Co-occurring mental disorder: Some behavior addictions may be tied to mental conditions like depression & bi-polar disorder.
- Trauma, grief & self-esteem: Psychologists believe that many compulsive behaviors are directly tied to issues of abandonment and poor self-esteem.
In the same way that self-medicating with drugs and alcohol dulls the pain of mental illness or childhood trauma, behavioral addictions like gambling or overeating provide an adrenaline rush that may also relieve this pain.
Learning Healthy Habits
Red Oak Recovery® residential treatment center is set in the beautiful foothills outside Asheville, NC. Our pristine mountain setting offers abundant opportunities for healthy living and recreation. Young people ages 18 to 30 come to us for our gender-specific recovery program, cutting-edge treatment, healthy living and food production, and opportunities for adventure.
If your loved one is in the grip of a drug, alcohol, or behavior addiction, call 866.457.7426 to speak with our dedicated admissions specialist. You’ll be assisted throughout the process with insurance verification, financing options, and enrollment help.