There are many instances where random acts of compulsive behavior is seen as someone being reckless and uncontrollable.These random acts of compulsion may be an actual condition referred to as process addiction. Although hard to detect and often overlooked, process addiction can have similar, or worse consequences than substance abuse.
What Happens In Process Addiction?
A process addiction occurs when the urge to perform an action is so strong, the individual is compelled to do it. These actions range from overeating, sexual activity, gambling, shopping, exercising and other activities where positive feelings occur after the activities are completed, but only for a short time.
Process addiction may start out as a small habit which continuously grows due to the extreme pressure to meet a certain need. Although a medical condition legitimately classified as an addiction, process addictions differ from substance abuse in that they are not drug-related.
Research has shown that process addiction works on the neurological portion of the brain, which promotes a dependence on the feeling dopamine produces once the activity has been completed. Individuals experiencing process addictions may feel feelings of guilt and a loss of control. They may hide their feelings because of guilt and shame, feeling that no one will understand why they are displaying these compulsive behaviors and will view them as someone who is weak and lacks self-discipline.
Process addictions are frequently misdiagnosed, because they exhibit some of the same symptoms as individuals who are going through substance addictions, such as withdrawal, depression or anxiety.
Process addiction can overlap a substance abuse problem, but since the physical warning signs of process addiction can be misleading or hidden, it is difficult to pinpoint the problem until it is very serious.
Some Symptoms of Process Addiction:
- Loss of control
- Trying to hide the behavior, or making excuses for doing the activity
- A noted increase in the need to do the activity or behavior to function
- An emotional and unhealthy need to feel the reward of doing the activity or behavior
It is important to understand that any activity that changes the person’s normal behavior has the potential to become a process addiction.
Consequences of process addiction
Without treatment, process addictions can be detrimental. There are a number of effects that can occur, such as mental health issues, health problems, social and relationship issues, loss of the will to be productive, loss of income and financial repercussions.
How Can Process Addiction Be Treated?
Many individuals try and treat themselves when experiencing a process addiction, but this is a serious condition that needs proper diagnosis and treatment to understand and deal with the problem. From the first signs of a bad habit developing, it should be taken seriously.
There are a number of treatments that may be implemented, depending on how serious the condition is. These treatment include behavior modification, which includes completely separating from the addiction, therapy to address the causes of the addiction, and exercises to assist in helping release the addiction to regain control.
Seeking help is the first step in overcoming process addiction. Contacting a professional facility that specializes in treating these types of addictions is important to assess, address and provide the treatment the individual needs to overcome the problem and increase their quality of life.