You’ve just spent 4 hours on FB and are feeling depressed, empty, bored or anxious. Or, you’ve binged on a dozen donuts and feel sick and disgusted. Or, you can’t stop going to the porn sites and your spouse is furious.
“These behaviors are called process addictions. “Process addiction” refers to any compulsive behavior a person is dependent upon. This term is widely used for any addiction that does not involve an addictive chemical, but rather a hobby or habit.
Activities such as fishing or shopping can be soothing, offering someone time for quiet reflection. Hobbies are perfectly healthy in moderation. It’s when the hobby begins to take over your life, interfering with responsibilities like your job and your family, your health or finances, that it becomes a problem.
Process addicts chase the ups and downs of activities such as gambling or sex. These activities stimulate the brain’s reward center, resulting in the same “high” as substances – a natural high.”
How do I know if I have a problem?
Eight Signs There is a Problem Developing:
1) “Repeated preoccupation with the behavior (You can’t stop thinking about the donuts and eventually, you give in and EAT them!)
2) Engagement with the behavior to a greater extend than intended” (You meant to stop after only a few minutes on your favorite porn site and 3 hours go by).
3) “Frequent attempts to reduce, stop, or control the behavior” (You keep trying to deal with the problem on your own, but you fail and feel miserable).
4) “Extended periods of time engaged with the behavior, activities for the behavior, or recovering from the behavior’s effects.”
5) “Engagement with the behavior instead of fulfilling occupational, domestic, or social obligations.” (Your responsibilities fall to the wayside and though you might feel guilty or bad, your behavior is getting worse, not better).
6) “Choosing the behavior over other important activities.” (Your children keep asking you to play and you keep putting them off).
7) “Continuance of the behavior despite the fact that it exacerbates social, financial, physical, and/or psychological problems.”
8) “The need to increase frequency or intensity of the behavior to achieve the desired effect”.” (If 1 hour on FB used to be fun and feel great, now it’s NEVER enough to get that original feel good high).
What to Do if You Think You May Have a Process or Behavioral Addiction:
If you relate to the 8 Signs listed above here are suggestions for moving forward:
1) Take positive ACTION NOW by talking with someone you trust. Admitting there’s a problem is the first step towards breaking the cycle.
2) Seek counseling with a therapist who has addiction experience. Google addiction counselors, MFT’s or LCSW’s in your area who specialize in addiction.
3) Attend 12 Step meetings. While there may not be specific meetings for social media addiction, (YET) there are for sex addiction, overeating, and alcohol and drug problems. Start with a 12 Step program that fits for you. There are in-person and on-line communities available.
I’m also available for a quick chat to provide direction. You can email me at email@example.com or text 209 505-2675.
The “ “ information is from Family First Intervention. https://family-intervention.com/blog/intervention-process-addictions/ More info about their programs at 888-291-8514.
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Lynn is the author of Intentional JOY: How to Turn Stress, Fear & Addiction into Freedom.
Check out www.addictionmodesto.com for resources and blogs.