5 main characteristics of non-substance addictions
These are the key characteristics of behavioral addictions and their effects.
While the human mind is characterized by its flexibility and ability to adapt to the challenges imposed on it by the environment, this facility to adjust its functioning in many different ways is a double-edged sword.
Among other things, it implies that there is also a wide variety of imbalances that can occur in people's mental health. And there are even psychological and psychiatric disturbances in which at first glance it is not easy to distinguish between the pathological and the simple choices the person makes about how he or she wants to behave and live his or her life.
The case of addictions in which there is no drug involved is an example of the latter, and in fact, it is a problem that usually raises alarm bells when it is already consolidated in the person's behavior. In this article we will see what are the characteristics of non-substance addictions and how they are treated in therapy.
What are non-substance addictions?
As their name indicates, the addictions without substances are disorders in which the person develops a relation of dependency, but not towards a drug, but towards a type of patterns of behavior.but to a type of behavior pattern that he/she feels the need to repeat over and over again. In fact, beyond what the person feels dependent on, non-substance addictions are not very different from drug addictions, including some of the more well-known ones such as alcoholism, opiate addiction, etc.
In practice, they tend to be severe problems that lead to the those who suffer from them to lose control of their lives, including their time managementIn practice, they tend to be severe problems that lead sufferers to lose control of their lives, including the management of their time and money, in large amounts, and in some cases also involve undergoing accelerated physical deterioration.
Let's see in a little more detail what are the characteristics of non-substance addictions.
The 5 most important characteristics of non-substance addictions
These are the aspects that most characterize behavioral addictions.
1. The person loses the ability to postpone the addictive behavior.
Gradually, the person ceases to be able to resist the urge to perform the behavior for which he or she feels dependence. For example, betting on slot machines.
2. The person develops tolerance
Just as it happens with drug addiction, as time goes by, the person needs to become more and more involved in the addictive behavior in order to experience the same intensity of the feeling of addiction. to experience the same intensity of the feeling of being "satiated".
3. If a long time passes without consuming the addictive behavior, discomfort arises.
The withdrawal syndrome makes the person feel very bad until he/she relapses.even though this option will generate more discomfort in the long term.
4. They predispose people to develop other addictions.
Although on paper non-substance addictions do not involve the use of drugs, in practice, the fact of developing this type of disorder greatly increases the risk of developing parallel drug addictions. greatly increases the risk of developing parallel drug addictions..
This is due to the pattern of mismanagement of emotions and impulse modulation that the person adopts, and also to the type of recreational contexts in which they like to be (for example, in places where money is usually gambled there is a lot of alcohol available and easily accessible).
5. The addiction is well camouflaged among socially accepted behaviors
Unlike what happens with most drug addictions, in which the consumption of substances is seen as a sign of possible pathology, in non-substance addiction the behaviors are well camouflaged among socially accepted behaviors, in non-substance addiction, problem behaviors go more unnoticed.There is no image of a person introducing a substance with psychoactive effects into his or her body.
The treatment of this kind of addictions
In psychotherapy it is possible to help people develop better ways to manage their impulses and to detect warning signs that indicate a high risk of relapse.. In addition, people are provided with information on how to transform their environment to minimize the likelihood of relapse.
On the other hand, in psychological therapy, patients are also supported in the process of discovering and applying incentive-filled activities outside of addiction to their own lives. In this way, it is easier to stop thinking constantly about those behaviors that were at the basis of the dependence.
On the other hand, even if non-substance addiction does not involve drug use, the need for psychiatric care combined with psychotherapeutic care is usually indicated.It is possible to use drugs that help to mitigate symptoms associated with anxiety and withdrawal syndrome, although always depending on each case and under the supervision of professionals.
Are you looking for psychotherapeutic treatment for addictions?
If you are interested in psychotherapy services to overcome an addiction, contact our team of professionals.
At Psychological Center Cepsim we have psychologists trained in psychotherapeutic care of all kinds of mental health problems including intervention in cases of substance dependence or addictions without drug use. In addition, we offer the possibility of conducting face-to-face sessions in our centers in Madrid, or through the format of online therapy by video call.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)