Addiction is a primary, chronic, progressive disease that has its roots in genetics, brain chemistry and attachment. An addiction involves the compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite the existence of negative consequences. People can develop an addiction to a wide variety of psychoactive substances and behaviors, with drug rehab centers often specializing in particular types of addiction and treatment methods. Common behavioral addictions include sex addiction, gambling addiction, food addiction, internet addiction, exercise addiction and many others. Common substance addictions include alcohol addiction, marijuana addiction, cocaine addiction, heroin addiction, and addiction to prescription opiates and sedatives. While certain behaviors and psychoactive substances may seem to share nothing on the surface, all addictions involve intrinsically rewarding and positively reinforcing behavior patterns that become normalized over time. A range of treatment methods can be used to tackle addiction issues, including medication therapy, psychotherapy, counseling, and relapse prevention systems.
A significant number of people who suffer from drug or alcohol addiction, suffer from a form of behavioral disorder or addiction. These types of addictions can range from a sex and porn to compulsive acts of shopping or gambling. Behavior addictions are commonly characterized by acting out particular behaviors in order to achieve a reward. The desired reward will either express itself in a manner of pleasurable feelings or act as an escape from certain battles or tension that the person is facing internally. The person continues to repeat this behavior in order to maintain these feeling of reward. This act is commonly referred to as ‘recurrent behavior,’ and it has the ability to completely rob the person of all control over it, regardless of any negative outcomes or adverse consequences that stem from it.
Drug and alcohol addiction share many comparable aspects to behavior disorders, in that they both involve a person looking to gain a reward or alleviation via use of a substance or by acting out a particular behavior. Behavioral disorders that are paired with a chemical dependency is disorder known as “dual diagnosis.” Oftentimes, when an individual has a behavioral disorder or an addiction, he or she may be anxious or on edge. In order to relieve these stressful feelings in exchange for a sense of pleasure, the individual will act out the specific behavior. As the person continues to engage in these patterns on recurrent behavior, he or she will become more fixated on the behavior and less interested in engaging in previously enjoy activities, personal relationships, and work.
The following may be indications of a behavioral addictions and drug or alcohol addictions:
- Being unable to refrain from using the substance or acting out the specific behavior;
- Loss of control over behavior
- Increased or unending cravings to use the substance or engage in the activity that provides reward
- Reduction in perception of problems occurring with personal relationships or one’s own behavior
- Lack of emotional response
- Lying and manipulating
- Engage in Criminal Activity
- Place Blame On Others
- Acts Impulsively
- Attempts to hide the degree of their problem
- Depressed, anti-social, and anxious
In the past several decades, a prevalent topic among researchers has been the common correlation between drug or alcohol addiction and behavioral addictions. There have been many findings that indicate a number of possibilities for these simultaneously occurring addiction, some of which many include:
- Drug abuse may eventually lead to a mental illness or behavior disorder.
- Behavioral disorders can cause an individual to abuse drug or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate. Self-medicating is a method for temporarily alleviating symptoms of a behavioral or mental illness and is highly ill-advised.
Therapy Available for Behavioral Addictions Treatment
There are many types of addiction treatment models, however two of the most popular options include 12-step and Cognitive Behavioral Treatment programs. Each rehab clinic has its own system for their 12-steps, but they almost always involve a heavy dose of spirituality and personal responsibility. Some of the steps may include having to admit to being overpowered by the substance, making lists and amendments to those harmed by the addict’s behavior, and then relying on a spiritual awakening to aid in the cleansing of mind, soul, and body.
Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT) helps individuals to learn how their thoughts, emotions, and personal behaviors connect, and how to break the self-destructive cycle. A system of psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, reduces emotional reactions and defeatist behavior by modifying the underlying erroneous thought patterns associated with addiction. Regardless which model is used, motivational elements are often implemented. These may include gift certificates, coins for trade towards goods, spa time, or other benefits during or after treatment.
SMART Recovery is a modern treatment that has been proven effective in the treatment of behavioral disorders. SMART Recovery stands for Self-Management for Addiction Recovery Training. In a SMART meeting, participants discuss controlling and abstaining from drugs, alcohol and other types of compulsive behaviors (called behavioral addictions), such as gambling, shopping, gaming, and overeating. SMART Recovery 4-Point Program facilitators teach participants to understand and practice each tool. Reaching and maintaining Point #4 is obtaining lifestyle balance, so that a satisfying and healthy life is sustained.
The “SMART Toolbox” is a collection of various methods, called tools, which help people work through the 4-Points:
- How change advances as stages progress
- A worksheet to plan the changes
- A worksheet to guide the decision making process
- Learning how to use behavioral tools to use to cope with urges
- Learning how to use behavioral tools to use to cope with emotional distress
- DISARM (Destructive Images and Self-talk Awareness & Refusal Method)
- Establishing a priority of values
- Anticipating scenarios that may occur
- Exercises to practice responses and reactions to these scenarios
- Unconditionally accepting oneself at all times, no exceptions
If someone you love is exhibiting drug addict behavior or behavior addiction traits, to not overlook these signs. Addiction treatment and behavioral addiction treatment is available for those who are in need, and can help make the lifelong positive change he or she needs. There are several different treatment options and therapies that exist and that can be tailored to meet the needs of every individual. Recovery is possible, and if you or someone you love needs help overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol and/or a behavioral addiction, pick up the phone and speak with an addiction specialist today.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.
About the Author
Mark is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.