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Addiction is as complex as the people and families they affect. Not only are they unique, but they also come in many forms. As such, at Cedars at Cobble Hill we offer a wide variety of comprehensive addiction programs, including recovery options for those struggling with process addiction.

What is a process addiction?

Process addiction, also called behavioural addiction, is an addiction to activities or actions like gambling, sex, or excessive internet use. These activities are common, even “normal”. However, these activities can develop into real addictions with negative consequences when individuals feel the compulsion to engage in these activities despite the negative effects on their lives.

Process addiction is unique in that it is a behavioural addiction instead of a chemical addiction. While this type of addiction doesn’t involve substances like alcohol or drugs, the destructive habits, compulsive behaviours, recurring moods or destructive thought patterns can have just as many detrimental effects. Without management or treatment, they can affect all aspects of a person’s life, resulting in relational, social, health, legal and financial consequences.

Some of the most common behavioural addictions stem from socially acceptable acts and can even include necessary behaviours such as sex and eating. This can make it challenging to recognize when these addictions become more than just habits.

There are many types of process addiction, but here are some of the most common kinds:

  • Gambling
  • Sex, Love & Relationships
  • Pornography
  • Gaming
  • Compulsive buying or shopping

What are the underlying causes of process addiction?

With any type of addiction, the underlying cause cannot be easily pinpointed as one single source or event. Process addiction is no different. Studies support that addiction in general, including process addiction, are often a result of a combination of any number of factors including genetic, social, biologic and environmental. Underlying exposure to trauma, abuse, unhealthy relationships or stress can also contribute to addiction.

Similar to someone with a drug or alcohol addiction, individuals with a process addiction tend to engage in these behaviours or experiences as a way to escape underlying issues and emotional pain, as well as to replace relationships or commitments. Individuals who struggle with process addiction also have tendencies to chase the “high” that comes from the pleasure of performing these acts, unable to stop or control their actions. When this happens, and the individual is still unable to stop engaging in the addictive behavior even with a genuine desire to stop with feelings of remorse, it is time to seek treatment.

How Cedars treats process or behavioural addiction

Treatment of process addiction is similar to that of other addiction, but can also pose unique challenges. Acts like eating, sex and using the Internet for example are common and arguably a necessary part of daily life. So when it comes to achieving recovery, abstinence is not a realistic solution. Rather, effective treatment for process addiction must address the underlying causes and provide individuals with recovery tools to engage in the activity in healthy and normalized ways.

For all types of addiction, Cedars at Cobble Hill offers a complete recovery experience that incorporates the mind, body, spirit and emotions in the healing process. Our comprehensive programs facilitate a full recovery outcome that includes repairing relationships with self and others, as well as building a foundation for lasting change. All patients receive individualized treatment strategies that have been specifically developed to suit their needs, including the unique needs that can accompany process addiction.

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