Similar to a drug or alcohol addiction, a behavior addiction is repeated without the ability to stop despite negative consequences. A behavior addiction is a psychological dependence on an activity such as work, exercise, compulsive gambling and shopping, sex, and eating disorders.

“Any activity, substance, object, or behavior that has become the major focus of a person’s life to the exclusion of other activities, or that has begun to harm the individual or others physically, mentally, or socially is considered an addictive behavior,” says Ruth C. Engs, RN, EdD. Professor, Applied Health Science, Indiana University.

A shopping addiction gets in the way of significant relationships and drains savings. It obstructs work, school, and home responsibilities. For a compulsive shopper, the convenience of the Internet can lead to unnecessary spending. Some people experience gratification when shopping or have a mental health condition that influences the urge to shop. Instead of buying only what is needed, a person with a shopping addiction cannot resist the urge to buy more.

Exercising is a healthy way to boost confidence, elevate mood, and stay physically fit. When a person develops an exercise addiction, he or she has the inability to stop exercising, even when experiencing physical or mental health complications. Exercise becomes a problem when relationships are affected and work is disrupted.

A person with a gambling addiction cannot stop gambling, even when savings accounts are depleted. A gambling addiction is harmful to relationships because of its priority over responsibilities. It can lead to the loss of a house, job, money, and bankruptcy.

Some characteristics of addictive behaviors include:

  • Hiding the behavior when family or close friends mention their concern. (hides food under beds, alcohol bottles in closets, doesn’t show spouse credit card bills, etc).
  • Having depression. It is important to make an appointment with a physician to find out what is going on.
  • Losing control. The person does not appear to have control as to when, how long, or how much he or she will continue the behavior.
  • Experiencing a blackout for the time engaged in the behavior.  

When any behavior compromises relationships or leads to severe financial problems, a person should seek help from a professional who can suggest the appropriate treatment. Recovery is possible with the assistance of therapy and counseling to work on behavior modification.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you are not alone. Cypress Lakes Lodge offers treatment for addiction in a peaceful, remote, oxygen-rich environment. The program encompasses holistic addiction therapy for the mind, body, and soul. The focus is on physical, mental, and emotional well-being by generating the balance of life-enriching treatment, wellness, and healthy, sober, sustainable relationships. Call us to get started: 409-331-2204