The term “process addiction” is likely unfamiliar to many people, and it’s a concept that’s somewhat difficult to understand. After all, when people engage in an activity on a regular basis, they’re often praised for their stamina, drive and devotion. In the Western mind, practice makes perfect, and it can be hard to see when participating in an activity crosses a line and becomes the sort of behavior that merits an intervention and subsequent treatment. While each person is different, and some people might need treatment for their behaviors while others might not, there are some process addictions that are so severe and so destructive to the family that they really should be addressed in a treatment program.
People with addictions to sex may seem, on the outside, as though they just have a strong libido and perhaps a subtle attractiveness that allows them to find mates when others cannot. On the inside, however, these people may feel lost and lonely. In a study of the issue in the journal Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, researchers found that large-8 columnss of people with a sex addiction actually had a dissociative disorder, meaning that they might be able to step out of their bodies while they’re having sex. These people might take terrible chances with their health by having sex with multiple partners, and they might need treatment for those medical conditions as well as the mental issue driving the addiction.
People can also develop addictions to exercise or addictions to eating. These behaviors can cause people to lose dramatic amounts of weight, or on the opposite side of the spectrum, they may gain immense amounts of weight in a short period of time. Dealing with a weight issue is difficult to do alone when a process addiction is in the way, but treatment programs can make a big difference in helping people to gain control.
Some process addictions allow people to spend immense amounts of money. Gambling addictions are the most commonly cited addictions that deal with money, and according to the National Institutes of Health, between 2 and 4 percent of Americans struggle with a gambling problem. There are other process addictions that don’t have to do with gambling, however, and they can also place a huge burden on a family’s bank account. People with these addictions may spend money by:
Shopping for clothing
Buying computer programs
Paying to play online games
Addictions like this tend to get stronger with time, and people often find that they need to escalate their behaviors in order to feel satisfied. In essence, they’re addicted to the little boost of pleasure chemicals the brain releases when they win big or spend money. In time, the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of these chemicals, and the brain may demand a bigger reward each time. Soon, people may be spending tremendous amounts of money on their addictions, leaving families destitute. These addictions must be treated before the family loses everything.
Anytime a person’s behavior is compulsive and out of control, leading to pain and suffering felt by the whole family, an intervention might be a good idea. However, people with the behaviors mentioned above really need therapy in order to recover, and that should be stressed in an intervention held sooner rather than later. If you need to schedule this kind of talk with someone you love, please call us. We’re happy to help you find a family mediator who can help.