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How Can Behaviors be Addictive?

When most people think of addiction, they often think about addictions that involve a substance like alcohol or drugs. But behaviors can be addictive too, so what’s that about?

Understanding behavioral addiction means understanding what motivates addictive behaviors. Let’s take a closer look at how behaviors can be addictive.

What Exactly is Addiction?

You might think you know what addiction is, but even the experts can’t agree on a specific definition. One thing they do agree on, however, is that dependence on a substance or activity is a central concept in addiction.

Most experts would say that when a habit becomes an obligation, it can then be called an addiction. Another key component of addiction is the idea that it involves use or behaviors that interfere with your life.

What are Examples of Addictive Behaviors?

There are several types of addictive behaviors. One well-known example is the addiction to gambling. Many people have lost everything – their jobs, their life savings, their homes, and their relationships – due to a gambling addiction.

But there are other types of behavioral addictions as well. In our modern world, many young people in particular are addicted to their cell phones or to the internet. Remember, addiction doesn’t just mean doing something a lot; it means that the behavior interferes in your life and you feel like you have to do it.

That can be true of many different kinds of activities including sex, pornography, internet use, video games, cell phone use, overeating, plastic surgery, risk-taking, shopping, or the aforementioned gambling.

How are Behaviors Addictive?

Behavioral addictions, like substance use addictions, are the result of pleasure-seeking behaviors that are regulated by the brain. These systems evolved to stimulate us to engage in behaviors conducive to survival.

When you do something pleasurable, you get a shot of dopamine, and that encourages you to keep doing that behavior or eating or drinking that substance. You seek out more of that pleasurable sensation, so you learn what stimulates it and do that more and more. If you do it too much, however, you can overwhelm the reward centers in the brain so that you need increasing amounts of dopamine to feel the same level of pleasure. .

When you don’t engage in the pleasurable behavior you’ve learned gives you that high feeling, you suffer the effects of a dopamine withdrawal. This can include depression or anxiety as well as other psychological and physical symptoms.

Sober Sidekick Can Help With Any Addiction

Sober Sidekick is a community of addicts who understand all about addiction and how it can ruin lives. Any kind of behavior or substance has the potential to be addictive in the right circumstances.

No matter what your addiction is, we understand, and we’re here to help. Sober Sidekick is an app and social media platform that boasts more than 150,000 members in various stages of recovery. They are non-judgmental, they know the score, and they are ready to help. Join today for a better, happier, and healthier tomorrow.

Image: Freepik

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