Behavioral science experts believe that anything that can stimulate a person can also become addictive. When a habit turns into an obligation, or when something one likes to do turns into something that one has to do, it is considered an addiction. Addiction is a dependence on a substance, such as drugs or alcohol, or an activity, such as gaming. It is simply an excessive behavior that negatively interferes with normal life functioning. There are similarities and differences between the symptoms of drug or alcohol addiction and behavioral addiction.
What is Behavioral Addiction?
Behavioral addictions include overeating, compulsive television watching, internet addiction, and gaming addiction. There are two types of behavioral addiction: passive or active. Television addiction is passive, while gaming is considered active. It is different than drug or alcohol addiction in that it is not a substance the person is addicted to but is rather addicted to a behavior or a feeling induced by the action. Furthermore, the physical signs of drug or alcohol addiction are not present in behavioral addiction. Still, those who suffer from behavioral addictions have specific symptoms and experience the same consequences as those with drug or alcohol addictions.
Similarities Between Behavioral and Drug Addictions
However, the similarities occur between both behavioral and drug addiction when there are functional impairments in social, work, and familial settings. Furthermore, the person’s life becomes dominated by the activity in behavioral addiction, just as the person’s life becomes dominated by the substance in drug or alcohol addiction. Also, users experience a “high” in both addictions, and tolerance builds up while stopping the activity or substance leads to withdrawal symptoms for the individual. Both types of addiction lead to conflicts with others or the self. Attempts to quit the behavior or substance use also lead to relapse and resumption of the activity or substance, leading to negative consequences in life, at work, at school, or at home.
Just as with drug and alcohol addiction, education is key to the prevention of the development of behavioral addiction. Often, coupled with behavioral addiction is a drug or alcohol addiction. Risk factors for any addiction include stress, anxiety, depression, and many other psychological issues. Treating these underlying issues is an important step in preventing addictions from occurring in the first place. Recognizing the signs of any addiction is imperative to preventing or recovering from the addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, call us today at 817-381-9741 or visit us online.