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What Are Behavioral Addictions and How Can I Fight Them?

Can you be addicted to an activity? For a long time, addiction was tied only to substances that your body became hooked on. However, new scientific evidence indicates that some behaviors can become addictive. Gambling, gaming and viewing pornography are examples of behaviors that can become addictive.

What Is Behavioral Addiction?

Behavioral addiction is any activity that you obsessively participate in that causes problems elsewhere in your life. For many, it’s an escape. That escape becomes dangerous when time spent on the computer becomes more fulfilling and real than time spent connecting with people in person. Pornography can also be incredibly difficult to quit, particularly for anyone who has a hard time connecting romantically.

Mindless Activities and Procrastination

Of course, everyone needs to take a break from the world and relax. Relaxation crosses into addiction when you’re turning to an addictive behavior to avoid dealing with what you need to do. Fighting your way out of addiction will take a change in mindset. A simple tool to use is the five-second rule. Simply count backward from five to one to break your brain’s focus. It gives you time to step back and move your body away from the addictive activity. Put down the controller, catalog or magazine, or get away from the computer, and do something else.

Thrill-Seeking as Addiction

One of the challenges of addiction, both chemical and behavioral, is that the addict is never satisfied. Those suffering from it are constantly chasing the high. You may experience some satisfaction as you taste the drink or sign in to that porn website, but ultimately, you will need more tomorrow. This is especially prevalent in those addicted to shoplifting. They may not even want or need the items they are stealing. What they seek is the thrill of taking the item without getting caught.

Addiction Lives in the Brain

It should also be noted that you can become addicted to things that are good for you, such as exercise or professional success. However, if you focus too much on these things, they become destructive. You may be encouraged to back away from these activities if they’re causing you harm.

 

As with any addiction, accepting that you have a problem is the first step to addressing it. There are simple behavioral modifications you can undergo to help you break away from addictive behaviors. Remember, your brain wants this activity, so you will need to take a break from acting on that want to truly handle your behavioral addiction.


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