Most Missouri residents are familiar with substance addiction, and probably know someone who has been addicted to nicotine, alcohol or certain drugs. But you may not be as familiar with the concept of behavioral addiction.
Behavioral addiction is similar to physical substance addiction and can be just as devastating to a person’s life. The distinction between the two is that behavioral addiction centers on a behavior pattern rather than a chemical substance.
The basics of behavioral addiction
Behavioral addiction centers around some behavior or activity. This activity is usually one people consider pleasurable, and many people engage in that activity without harm or problem.
But for the addicted person, the behavior gradually starts to assume greater and greater significance in their life. A behavioral addiction causes a person to act erratically and self-destructively, even potentially causing them to require criminal defense for something they’ve done in pursuit of their addiction.
Signs that a person is dealing with a behavioral addiction tend to follow a similar pattern. The person’s relationships and work often begin to suffer due to the behavior. The person feels an obligation to persist in the behavior, to the point of neglecting duties and other pastimes.
Frequently, the person will attempt to hide their behavior or minimize the extent to which they engage in it. They may make attempts to quit the behavior, only to find themselves going right back to it shortly.
Types of behavioral addiction
Any of the following has the potential to be the subject of behavioral addiction:
- Playing video games
- Social media
- The internet in general
Keep in mind that simply engaging in any of these behaviors doesn’t constitute an addiction. The key is that the behavior starts to manifest negative effects in a person’s life and begins to dominate it.