Five of the Most Common Types of Behavioral Addiction
Most people are aware of substance abuse addiction, but these five types of behavioral addiction are not as well-understood by the general population. Behavioral addictions often start out as normal behaviors that most or even all people do at some point, such as using the internet or having intercourse. For some people, an addiction to that type of behavior gets in their way of living a full, satisfying and productive life.
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1. Sexual Addiction
A person with sexual addiction may spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about and planning intercourse. They may pay for intercourse, even if they have a regular partner. Other people may express their sexual addiction through pornography. They may become obsessed with looking at pornographic materials or watching pornographic videos. In some cases, this can turn into voyeurism, peeping, and other illegal activities. People with an addiction to sex often fail to regard the consequences of their actions, which is typical of other addictive behaviors.
2. Internet Addiction
With the proliferation of technology, it is difficult to avoid using the internet. Most people go online in order to get the news, research information, make a purchase or communicate with others. Some people have to use the internet for their work or schooling. However, use of the internet can become an addiction. A person with an internet addiction spends many hours per day perusing the internet for pleasure. Some spend up to 11 hours online per day. A person with internet addiction may eschew real-life or in-person interactions for the online world.
3. Shopping Addiction
The internet makes it easy to buy things without having to leave home. Credit cards also facilitate shopping. Compulsive shopping often combines the use of the internet and credit cards, allowing people to spend money they do not have on things that they do not need. However, some people addicted to shopping do it in brick-and-mortar stores. Compulsive shopping is a type of impulse control disorder. A person might shop when they are sad, angry or stressed. They often feel guilty after the purchase. Compulsive shoppers end up with piles of unused items, and they can rack up enormous debt.
4. Gambling Disorder
According to Very Well Mind, gambling disorder is recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, as a behavioral addiction. A person may become addicted to online gambling, scratch-off lottery tickets, lotto games or casino gambling. In some states, people with a gambling addiction can voluntarily put themselves on a ban list at casinos. People with a gambling addiction often go into debt, sell their belongings or even steal in order to feed their habit.
5. Video Game Addiction
Video games are immersive, and the never-ending levels, quests, and characters make it easy for a person to become addicted to playing them. For some people, video games turn into a sort of alternate reality. They may avoid in-person interactions, choosing their online gaming world instead. About one in 10 video game players is thought to be addicted to playing them.
Each of these five behavioral addictions can have a serious impact on the individual with the addiction and their family, friends and coworkers. Mental health treatment, including counseling, therapy and medications, is available to a person who wants to recover from a behavioral addiction. Understanding these five types of behavioral addiction could also help family members and friends know more about what their loved one is going through.