Lantana Recovery
A modern, community-based approach to addiction treatment for Men and Women in Charleston, SC

Gambling, Shopping, Sex: Better Understanding Process Addiction Recovery

Jump to Section

The conversation about process addictions almost always takes a backseat to the ones that are being had about alcohol and substance addictions. This is unfortunate because it can minimize the dangers of process addiction and keep people from seeking process addiction recovery.

What Exactly Are Process Addictions?

It is important to understand that behaviors (“processes”) can be just as addictive as substances. According to the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, “Although such behavioral addictions do not involve a chemical intoxicant or substance, a group of researchers have posed that some core indicators of behavioral addiction are similar to those of chemical or substance addiction. At present, researchers emphasize that to make a diagnosis of behavioral addiction, functional impairments must be present at work, in social relationships, or in other social situations.”

That last aspect of “impairment” is key. When a process gets out of hand and starts to interrupt day-to-day life, this is when there may be a serious issue of addiction. This includes a disruption caused by the main three: sex, shopping, and gambling. It should also be noted that eating disorders are often listed as process addictions, but because of many other dynamics, they are often categorized in their own separate class of addiction/mental illness.

Better Understanding Gambling Addiction

Gambling addictions are on the rise as of late. One of the main reasons for this is that many more people have access to gambling platforms online and on their smartphones.

It’s hard to turn on the television these days without seeing an advertisement for some type of sports betting app or platform. For many, this can be harmless fun, but for others, this can lead to a serious process addiction.

Gambling addiction has to do with the adrenalin rush that someone often feels when they have “something on the line.” Someone with a gambling addiction will continue to seek this rush even when they have no more resources and could potentially lose everything they have. A similar occurrence happens with people with a shopping addiction.

Better Understanding Shopping Addiction

Shopping addiction (also known as compulsive buying behavior) can be very detrimental both to the individual and to the loved ones around them. According to the peer-reviewed journal, Frontiers in Psychology, “Compulsive buying behavior (CBB), otherwise known as shopping addiction, pathological buying or compulsive buying disorder, is a mental health condition characterized by the persistent, excessive, impulsive, and uncontrollable purchase of products despite severe psychological, social, occupational, financial consequences. Whereas, ordinary non-addicted consumers state value and usefulness as their primary motives for shopping, compulsive buyers make purchases in order to improve their mood, cope with stress, gain social approval/recognition, and improve their self-image.”

People who struggle with shopping addiction are often trying to fill some type of “hole” they feel due to past trauma. Unfortunately, shopping will never fill that hole and could potentially cause an individual to lose both their material possessions and emotional stability. Similar things can be said about sex addiction.

Better Understanding Sex Addiction

Due to a change in the online landscape, one of the most common forms of sex addiction currently is online sex addiction. According to the clinical journal, Psychiatry (Edgmont), “[C]ultural changes have increased the acceptability and availability of sexual rewards. For some, though, this increase in availability has uncovered an inability to control sexual impulses resulting in continued engagement in these behaviors despite the creation of negative consequences – otherwise known as sexual addiction.”

Online access to pornography and sex-centric dating applications have made engaging in one’s sex addiction easier than ever. This excessive engagement can lead to relationship trouble and infidelity, sexually transmitted diseases, and sexually inappropriate behaviors with unwilling participants. The good news is that there are solutions for all of these process addictions.

What Does Effective Process Addiction Recovery Look Like?

Effective process addiction recovery is going to look very similar to alcohol or substance addiction recovery. Most likely the addiction recovery will be broken up into two parts. One is working with a therapist, and two is connecting with other people who are struggling (have struggled) with the same issues.

Psychotherapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can help get to the underlying issues that may be responsible for the addictive behaviors in the first place. Community recovery, such as 12-Step meetings can give people a safe space to share their issues, while also connecting them with others who can help when “triggering” situations arise.

A Focus on All Addiction Recovery at Lantana Recovery

Here at Lantana Recovery, we believe that all addictions must be taken seriously and treated equally. This includes process addictions like gambling, shopping, and sex addiction.

We must always remember that recovery is about the journey, never the destination. It is also about the ride, not just the road. At Lantana Recovery, we are here to open up that road and offer the keys to a healthier, more successful ride.

Process addictions are often either overlooked or minimized. Both of these do a significant disservice to those struggling with these issues. The three most prominent process addictions of gambling, shopping, and sex are more prevalent than ever, and with the online availability of all three, they can also be more damaging. If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or co-occurring disorders, we can help get you on the right road to long-term recovery right away. For more information about process addictions and, more importantly, how best to recover from them, please reach out to Lantana Recovery today at (866) 997-2870.

Related Articles
Addiction Treatment
Contact Form
We’re here to help you or your loved one on their path to sobriety

Chat with us.

Reach out now and join our supportive community

Charleston South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina

Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.