A process addiction is an addiction to a compulsive behavior. Common process addictions include compulsive gambling, spending addictions, sexual addictions and eating disorders. Many people are embarrassed to admit they may have a process addiction because they think they should be able to stop their behavior at will. But process addictions have serious dangers, and anyone who suspects they might have a compulsive habit should contact a mental health therapist right away.
Current research supports the theory that process addictions can impact neurotransmitters in the brain in similar ways to substances. To a gambling addict, playing cards or slot machines can cause the same “high” that a drug would give a drug addict. The only real difference between substance addiction and a process addiction is that using drugs carries the additional risk of the direct effects of the chemicals themselves in addition to the changes in the brain someone with a process addiction feels.
An addiction is a mental health issue, no matter what type of addiction is involved. The good news is, with proper diagnosis and treatment, process addictions can be overcome. Contact your local Orange County psychiatrist if you’re noticing repetitive behaviors that concern you.