Process Addiction

two girls hiking for process addiction treatment

Addiction presents in many forms, not just alcohol or drug addiction. Process addiction, which entails partaking in certain behaviors and activities, can be just as detrimental to one’s physical, social, and emotional well-being as substance addiction. Though process addictions may present in a more subtle manner than substance addictions, people with a process addiction are unable to stop partaking in the behavior and generally require treatment to do so.  If you are struggling with process addictions or seeking more information, please contact Transcend Recovery Community to see how we can help you.

What Is Process Addiction?

Process addictions, also known as behavioral addictions, involve a severe compulsion to engage in a specific behavior, regardless of the negative mental, physical, and social implications it may have. People with process addictions typically partake in the behavior to seek an emotional high and euphoria associated with the behavior. Once stopping the behavior, the person may experience shame or guilt; avoidance of these negative feelings often drives people to continue the behavior.

Like other addictions, process addictions require appropriate intervention and treatment in order to recover. Occasionally, those who have the condition will make a conscious decision to stop partaking in the behavior on their own. Unfortunately, many are seldom able to stay the course without proper support. Therefore, we recommend that process addicts seek the necessary assistance in order to overcome their addiction.

How Does Transcend Treat Process Addiction?

With process addiction presenting differently in people, we treat every client with appropriately specialized care. Thanks to an excellent partnership with our sister program, The Heights Treatment, Transcend offers an incredible treatment program for individuals suffering from process addiction. 

We believe that no one can effectively solve a problem without first grasping the root cause; as such, we place a high priority on consulting with our clients to fully understand and address their unique needs. We use a targeted approach to discover underlying factors and triggers for their preferred behaviors. With this information, we are able to form an effective treatment plan that caters specifically to that client’s needs.

Transcend strives to provide engaging and inclusive programming, which ultimately keeps clients invested and motivated in their recovery. We also focus on essential topics in our program, such as self-help, life skills, spirituality, and community.

Process Addiction Vs. Substance Addiction

Though process addiction and substance addiction may present differently, both types of addiction have quite a bit in common. Process addiction and substance addiction both act by boosting levels of endorphins and dopamine in the brain, eliciting a rewarding and pleasurable feeling. Both addictions face the phenomenon of craving, increased tolerance, as well as reduced willpower when triggered. 

The difference between substance addiction and process addiction lies in the fact that substance addiction involves alcohol or drugs, while process addiction is repeated engagement in a behavior in order to produce the desired effect. Substance addiction frequently, but not always, presents with more physically identifiable symptoms (i.e. weight change, appetite change, sleep pattern changes, etc.). Process addictions can be more challenging to identify as they strictly involve behavior; in fact, some behaviors are considered socially acceptable, even though they may be detrimental to the addict (i.e. gambling).

What Are the Types of Process Addictions?

Process addictions tend to be categorized based on the vice that sits at the center of the fixation. The most prevalent ones are:

  • Sex and love addiction – Sex releases numerous chemicals in the brain that improve mood, relieve pain, etc. Many sex addicts engage in compulsive sexual behavior to satisfy the craving for this feeling. They are frequently preoccupied with sexual behavior and become irritable and discontent if they cannot engage in the behavior.

Love addiction is an addiction that involves fantasizing over an ideal relationship, despite the reality of the said relationship. Love addicts often seek out toxic partners they are not compatible with an effort to cope with problems in their life. Their emotional well-being is frequently determined by others, and they may seek new partners if feeling unfulfilled.

  • Exercise addiction – While exercise plays a big part in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, too much exercise can absolutely be detrimental to one’s health and well-being. Exercise addicts compromise relationships, responsibilities, physical, and mental health to maintain their workout regimen.
  • Shopping addiction – When a person has a shopping addiction, the power to purchase creates a sense of control that assists in coping with other issues, such as anxiety or depression. Like other addictions, shopping addicts experience a flood of endorphins and dopamine when shopping and spending, ultimately making them feel good and free of negative feelings. It is important to note that shopping addiction presents in multiple forms, such as compulsive buying to avoid negative feelings, obsessive bargain hunting, frequently buying and returning items, or shopping for flashy/luxury goods. 
  • Food addiction – This addiction type manifests as an uncontrollable urge to eat food often containing high amounts of fat, sugar, or salt. These foods release feel-good chemicals in the brain, allowing the addict to feel pleasure while eating. Addicts crave and eat these foods even though they may be full or not hungry, and have difficulty stopping on their own. 
  • Gaming and technology addiction – Social media, gaming, and other technological vices are the source of addiction for many people. These people may use these outlets to cope with other issues and are unable to stop after a reasonable amount of time. Gaming and technology addiction promote an unhealthy desire for instant gratification and can lead to depression, isolation, poor social skills, and physical health issues.

Are There Process Addiction Treatments Near Me?

Overcoming a process addiction is a challenging feat, but Transcend is eager to help our clients regain a sense of wellness and normalcy in their lives. Our clients are our top priority, and we desire to make them feel important and included during their treatment.

We take a vested interest in every client’s holistic health, and our treatment methodology communicates that. We, along with the Heights Treatment, have centers setup up in both Houston and Los Angeles. If you or a loved one are seeking treatment for a process addiction, we urge you to call us to discuss which treatment options are most suitable.

Call the recovery specialists at Transcend today at 800-208-1211 or use our contact us form to see how joining the Transcend community can change your life.