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What is a Process Addiction?

A process addiction or a behavior addiction is an impulse or strong urge to act in a certain way or complete a certain action. It is more of a psychological addiction than the type of addictions experienced by people with substance abuse issues, which are often rooted in chemical addictions. However, the two types of addiction can be strongly interlinked in some people.

Common examples of process addictions include:

  • Self-harm or cutting
  • Pulling strands of hair
  • Working excessively
  • Gambling or shopping addictions
  • Most eating disorders
  • Social media or internet addictions

The action involved in a process addiction is not the only component of that addiction, either. People with process addictions complete those actions because they will experience some sort of mood alteration afterward. For example, people who cut themselves often report feeling a mild sense of euphoria during and immediately after the self-harm has been committed. The end result that most people with process addictions do not want to think about is that a worsened sense of guilt or depression almost always follows that briefly elevated mood.

Cycle of Process Addictions & Substance Addictions

It is important to acknowledge how process addictions and substance addictions can overlap and influence one another. Many people who have substance addictions will also have a process addiction, and vice versa, which can result in a dual diagnosis. To combat one of these addictions, the other one must be fought, too.

For example, people with substance addictions often suffer from depression, anxiety, and paranoia. To try to alleviate some of the low moments that these mental health difficulties cause, some people engage in a process addiction for a momentary “high moment.” Once that elevated mood leaves, though, they will be drawn back to substance abuse and, ultimately, back to their process addiction. Together, the two types of addiction create an extremely dangerous self-feeding cycle that is difficult to beat. But it is not impossible.

How to Fight Substance & Process Addictions

In the past, healthcare professionals tried to treat co-occurring addictions entirely separately. A patient would be enrolled in a substance addiction treatment program and then, when those treatments were concluded, they would go to a therapist to talk about stopping unsafe process addictions. Today, it is commonly accepted that it is better to treat both health issues in a dual diagnosis at once, which can include a single treatment plan or two co-occurring treatment plans developed by medical professionals who communicate with one another throughout.

If you live in Georgia and suffer from substance addiction, then you can come to Mount Sinai Wellness Center for help. Our team can help with various types of addictions and, thanks to our strong reputation throughout the state, we can network with other medical professionals who are helping with your recovery, such as a trusted therapist who is helping with your process addiction. When we all work together, we can help you walk towards a stronger, happier, and sober tomorrow. Contact us now for more information.