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Addictions are 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 addictions program, including recovery options for those struggling with process addictions.

What are process addictions?

Process addictions, also called behavioural addictions, are addictions to an activity or action like gambling, sex, or excessive internet use. While these are otherwise common, and even “normal” activities, when an individual feels the compulsion to continuously engage in these activities despite the negative effects or consequences – it can develop into a very real addiction with significant negative consequences.

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

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

There are many types of process addictions, 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 addictions?

With any type of addiction, the underlying cause cannot be easily pinpointed as one single source or event. Process addictions are no different. Studies support that addictions, including process addictions, 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 addictions.

Similar to someone with drug or alcohol addiction, individuals with process addictions 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 addictions

Treatment of process addictions is similar to that of other addictions, 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 addictions 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 addictions, 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 addictions.

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