Behavioural Addictions

Behavioural addictions have the same symptoms as drug addiction and alcholism. Process addictions alter mood by creating a euphoric feeling or a "high". This feeling is caused by the serotonin or adrenalin released in the brain when a person uses drugs or alcohol or engages in an addictive activity. The brain then seeks to recreate this experience despite any negative consequences related to it. The need to repeatedly go through the experience, to get the chemical high, results in the individual being trapped in a compulsive process.

Causes of Behavioural Addiction
Just as in drug addiction, the withdrawal developed in a behavioural addiction refers to the negative physical and emotional reactions felt by the addict when the behaviour is stopped. And the relapse syndrome indicates the addict's inability to reduce or stop indulging in the activity despite negative consequences.

Types of Behavioural Addictions

Behavioral addiction may include participating in pathological gambling, shopping, sex, internet, television or food.

All these activities are a natural part of many people's lives and do not have any negative impact.

Symptoms of Behavioral Addiction -  The following criteria were printed in the American Journal of Preventive Psychiatry & Neurology in 1989. The criteria are listed similarly to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychiatrists and other psychotherapists to diagnose mental disorders.

The criteria are:

1. Frequent engaging in the behavior to a greater extent or over a longer period than intended.

2. Persistent desire for the behavior or one or more unsuccessful efforts to reduce or control the behavior.

3. Much time spent in activities necessary for the behavior, engaging in the behavior, or recovering from its effects.

4. Frequent preoccupation with the behavior or preparatory activities.

5. Frequent engaging in the behavior when expected to fulfill occupational, academic, domestic, or social obligations.

6. Giving up or limiting important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of the behavior.

7. Continuation of the behavior despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent social, financial, psychological, or physical problem that is caused or exacerbated by the behavior.

8. Need to increase the intensity or frequency of the behavior to achieve the desired effect, or diminished effect with continued behavior of the same intensity.

9. Restlessness or irritability if unable to engage in the behavior.

At least three criteria must be met for diagnosis, and some symptoms of the disturbance must have persisted for at least 1 month or have occurred repeatedly over a longer period.
Treatment for Behavioural Addiction

Many treatment centers include individual therapy and support groups  for people with similar additions to break the sense of isolation and shame and to learn new coping skills.

The Australian and New Zealand Addiction 2015 Conference will address the treatment and recovery of alcohol, other drug and behavioural addictions. This National conference will feature case studies from around Australia, practical clinical experience in Addiction treatment and insights into Behavioural Addictions.

The focus of the Addiction 2015 conference will be on different types of addiction, assessment, prevention, treatment and recovery. The Addiction 2015 Conference is for Addiction treatment professionals, mental health, social workers, Drug an Alcohol Workers, health-care clinicians and researchers and academics.

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