Process Addictions

process addictions

Gambling Addiction

Compulsive gambling or gambling addiction is an impulse disorder. A person with a gambling addiction may be aware of the consequences of their actions, but continue to gamble anyway. Gambling can be further categorized as a compulsive or pathological disorder.

Are you dealing with a gambling addiction?

Gambling can stimulate the human brain’s reward system in the same way that drugs or alcohol can, and can quickly lead to addictive behaviours. People with existing behavioural disorders such as depression or anxiety are at a higher risk of developing a gambling addiction.

Signs of a gambling addiction may include:

  • Hiding your gambling habits
  • Struggling to control gambling habits
  • Gambling when you can’t afford it
  • Borrowing money to gamble
  • Using gambling to reduce stress and anxiety

Someone struggling with a gambling addiction will occasionally gamble to distract themselves from their problems, often feeling as if it will reduce their stress and anxiety. However, the negative repercussions of gambling may lead to prolonged feelings of stress and anxiety rather than reduced feelings.

Because of the growing accessibility of online gambling platforms and outlets, gambling addiction does not discriminate. People of all ages, incomes and cultural backgrounds are at risk of developing an addiction to gambling. If the addictive behaviours are not treated, they can be extremely detrimental to a person’s health, finances and career. As with any addiction, a person’s compulsive gambling can also directly impact their personal relationships.

Sex Addiction

Sexual addiction is a behavioural disorder in which a person becomes excessively preoccupied with sexual thoughts or actions. A person exhibiting compulsive sexual behaviours may have affairs with strangers, view pornography, masturbate frequently, and engage in sex chat rooms or phone lines. The person may do all of these things in excess, leading to impaired relationships and decreased quality of life. Also known as hyper-sexuality, compulsive sexual behaviour or sexual dependency, sex addiction has the ability to interfere with a person’s health, career, and relationships.

Hypersexuality and Sexual Addiction

A person exhibiting compulsive sexual behaviours may have affairs with strangers, view pornography, masturbate frequently and engage in sex chat rooms or phone lines. The person may do all of these things in excess, leading to impaired relationships and decreased quality of life.

Even people with healthy, enjoyable sex lives may be prone to developing an obsession. Often times, the addiction isn’t driven by sexual desire. Like many other addictions, sex addiction can often be attributed to stress, anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders.

As a result of sex addiction, a person may exhibit any of the following behaviours and feelings:

  • Guilt and shame
  • Emotional dissatisfaction following sexual activity
  • Loss of interest in work and/or recreational activities
  • Excessive amounts of time and energy spent trying to obtain sex
  • Obsession over attracting others, often leading to a string of relationships
  • Inability to control sexual urges and respect sexual boundaries
  • Inability to stop, reduce or control sexual activity and behaviour

Compulsive sexual behaviour can be as destructive and devastating as any other addiction, but the shame and fear of being stigmatized often prevent those with a sexual addiction from seeking the help they deserve. Sexual addiction can be treated through customized therapy just like any other mental health treatment or addiction.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders fall into three main conditions, which are all characteristically distinct: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Without treatment, eating disorders can lead to bone thinning, anemia, low blood pressure, organ failure, brain damage, and infertility. Symptoms of eating disorders can also be fatal if left untreated.  Fortunately, an eating disorder is an absolutely treatable form of mental illness.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa (commonly referred to as anorexia) is a mental disorder characterized by obsessive calorie counting, excessive exercise and restrictive eating habits, which can lead to dramatic weight loss. People with anorexia have a distorted body image and see themselves as overweight, even when that is not the reality.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa (commonly referred to as bulimia) is characterized by binge eating followed by purging. Binge eating refers to eating an abnormally large amount of food in a short period of time. Purging refers to the subsequent attempts to eliminate the food consumed. People usually purge food through self-induced vomiting or laxatives.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food very quickly. Each episode is typically accompanied by a sense of loss of control and feelings of shame, distress or guilt. A person with binge eating disorder does not use compensatory measures like purging to counter the binge eating as a bulimic person would.


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