Process addiction (or non-substance-related disorder) is an umbrella term for behaviour disorders indicating repetitive actions that result in negative consequences. The person is not compelled to use substances like drugs, but obtains gratification by over-indulging in other harmful activities, for example codependency, gambling or sex. Though drugs are not the person’s main interest, the urge to indulge their harmful activities originates from the same neural flaws that trigger substance abuse.
Expert help for process addiction
As a dynamic facility with vast experience, we have advanced multi-faceted therapeutic techniques in place for treatment of process disorders.
Referring to certain behaviours as disorders is often inaptly rejected as ridiculous. It’s hard for some to accept that, for example, anorexia could be pigeon-holed with pyromania. Others attempt to deny mental disorders by rationalising that it equals accusations of insanity. Factually, disorders do have fundamental differences and degrees of severity, similar to that of physical diseases, but classification is not based on bias or unfairness; it’s simply a pragmatic procedure.
Non-substance-related disorders may seem minor compared to substance use disorder, as it lacks the annoying physical characteristics of drugs and alcohol. However, some consequences, such as bankruptcy, fraud and socially deplored crimes, prosecution and imprisonment, social shame, broken relationships, and other disasters, as well as the additional risk of substance use disorder, are just as severe and even includes suicide, as witnessed in frequent news reports.
Our subconscious minds influence how we feel and behave. The conscious mind can also enforce its own strategies and we can even condition it to approve and expect the unacceptable. When our minds are altered, it can then steer us in ways we are unable to control. The very same maladaptations that drive us to perform non-substance-related acts, can compel us to succumb to substance use disorder, leaving us with multiple disorders like gambling, plus drinking and smoking.
The rewards of due process
Process addiction subconsciously drives people to continually indulge in an activity that is detrimental to them. The focus is not on addictive substances, but rather on acts like excessive gambling. It differs from mundane passions like sport and hobbies, which are usually beneficial, whilst process disorders are usually harmful.
Process disorders include excessive gambling, sexual exploitation, eating disorders, extravagant shopping sprees, and similar behaviours. Some sufferers also acquire substance abuse disorder, as the impulses are generated by the same psychological processes that cause process addiction. All these disorders are accompanied by additional comorbidities like anxiety, depression and other ailments.
Research has shown that process disorders result from faults in the routes followed by some of our neural signals. The routes, called reward pathways, connect to a reward centre, an area in the brain that generates feelings of contentment when we satisfy a need. It is a fundamental primal system that motivates us to do vital things, such as drinking water to prevent dehydration.
When we satisfy a need, the reward centre stimulates the release of natural chemicals that initiate feelings like comfort and pleasure. If we fail to fulfill a need, then we experience discomfort and cravings to satisfy the need and to reap the feelings of reward. This natural process benefits us when it spurs us to satisfy basic requirements to ensure our survival, but it can be corrupted.
When neural pathways become corrupted, or if we condition our reward centre to erroneously identify a destructive item as a vital need, then it can start urging us to replenish the deviant need, and reward us for our poor conduct, resulting in constant cravings to keep repeating the unhealthy act. The outcome of severe cases can result in total ruination of a person’s social, financial, relationship, health and other life qualities.
Advice is within your reach
The positive side of research shows that neural pathways can be repaired. It involves a process called neuroplasticity. This natural process, present in all of us, can restore behavioural freedom if combined with cognitive process therapies.
A person with a process disorder can be healed – and a life may even be saved – by simply reaching for your phone and dialling the number on this page for friendly advice from a counsellor with intimate knowledge and understanding of the problem.
Media publications about mental and physical health are for broad public consumption and it is imperative that you obtain personal advice for your specific circumstances from a suitably qualified professional.