Tag Archive: behavioral addiction

  1. What is Psychological Addiction

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    When the body is deprived of the substance on which its balance-control mechanisms have come to depend, this causes problems for the individual. Most everyone is familiar the image of a pale-faced addict cowering in the feeble position. Physiological addiction is all too real. More of than not, however, the addiction runs much deeper, where it can’t be seen.

    Components of Addiction

    Addiction, according most literature, comes down to a combination of physiological and psychological dependence. We know that psychological addiction is powerful because it often exists without the presence of physiological dependence. Not only do low-risk drugs like marijuana cause problems for millions of people, so do innocuous-seeming behaviors like gambling or sex.

    Addictions Without Chemicals

    Some behavioral addictions are so common, we don’t even notice them. Sure, you use your phone just about every fifteen minutes; that’s normal, right? However, if you try leaving your smart-phone at home one day, you may notice yourself feeling uneasy, then unhappy, and then anxious. That’s emotional-withdrawal; you’ve grown accustomed to the instant-gratification—a video, a text message, a response of some forum—that you’re not only bored; you’re sad.

    Same goes lots of relationships; we can be addicted to people, to how they make us feel, as well.

    Understanding the Psychology

    In the latest version the DSM (Diagnostic Manual for Mental Disorders), addiction is classified as a real mental disorder, characterized by a combination of both physical and psychological components. Both types of cravings are mediated by positive reinforcement, a form of operant condition, but of different forms. Addiction is compulsive, reward-seeking behavior that starts positively but eventually becomes negative in nature. At first, you’re abusing your outlet of choice because you like it. It makes you feel good. As your tolerance grows, however, your aim shifts, and you do what you do to feel normal.

    Taking Both Sides Seriously

    Neither aspect of an addiction, no matter how minute when compared to the other, is ever completely isolated. It’s important to take psychological addiction seriously, because it’s the life juice onto which genetic predisposing, the seed of addictive behavior, can grow and evolve. Recovering alcohols are at their most successful when they continue attending treatment even after they’ve been sober for weeks, months, or years. It’s not the alcohol itself that threatens them; it’s their own desire to drink—a sneaky, tricky desire.


    After detox comes treatment, the road to emotional recovery. Give us a call: 949-407-9052

  2. Getting Help for a Loved One with a Gambling Problem

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    Getting Help for a Loved One with a Gambling ProblemCompulsive gamblers often justify their conduct by arguing that it is a solitary activity. They claim that they gamble by themselves and that they are not hurting anyone when they do gamble. Their families and friends, however, know that the truth is exactly the opposite. Compulsive gamblers will be increasingly disassociated from their families, careers, and friends; they will use money for gambling and leave their families short of funds for food and shelter. Their gambling takes a larger psychological toll on their relationships as they turn increasingly inward to satisfy their compulsions. Families and friends who are faced with the challenge of dealing with a compulsive gambler will have no idea where to begin. Fortunately, they have access to a growing pool of resources that can offer assistance with their need and desire to help a loved one who has a gambling problem.

    Getting Help for a Loved One with a Gambling Problem

    Before taking any rash action, a person should make an effort to understand gambling addiction and to confirm that their loved one has fallen prey to it. Compulsive gamblers are unable to control their actions when faced with an opportunity to gamble. Over time, they seek out more and more opportunities to gamble. They spend larger sums of money to support their compulsion, they ignore work and family commitments to participate in gambling activities, they attempt to hide or downplay the amount of time and money they dedicated to gambling, and they might borrow or steal money to support their habits. No black-and-white rule exists to conclusively define a problem gambler, but if you have a loved one who exhibits a few of these symptoms, he may well be on a path toward developing a gambling addiction.

    You can use the same tactics with a problem gambler as you might use with a person who has a substance abuse problem. If you confront a problem gambler about his or her actions, stay as objective and non-judgmental as is possible. Do not blame yourself for the problem, and avoid heated arguments. Focus on how your loved one’s gambling is affecting you and your family. If you concentrate only on your negative impressions of the gambler, you may trigger his defensiveness and the conversation will rebound onto you.

    Treatment for Gambling Addiction

    Take pains to avoid any enabling activities of your own. Do not give or lend money to a gambler. Do not make excuses for him, for example, by agreeing to call his employer to excuse an absence or to explain why he might be missing a family event. Beware of any manipulative conduct on the part of the problem gambler. Addicts, including gambling addicts, develop an almost uncanny ability to cover their tracks and to have other people cover for them. When you have determined that your loved one is a problem gambler, you may need to put some distance between him and yourself to protect you from that manipulation.

    Look for resources that can help you as a friend or family member of a loved one who has a gambling problem. Support groups can give you more tools and techniques that can increase your likelihood of succeeding in getting help for the problem gambler. Lastly, understand that your efforts to help a problem gambler will take time. Do not expect an immediate resolution of a problem that might have taken months or years to develop. Convincing a compulsive gambler to get help may require persistence and patience on your part.


    For additional suggestions on how you can help a compulsive gambler whose actions are affecting your life, please call Sustain Recovery Services at (949) 407-9052. We can provide confidential counseling to help both you and your family member to address and stop a compulsive gambling problem.

Sustain Recovery changed my life in a way I never considered remotely possible. I arrived in a place where I knew nobody. Sustain Recovery gave me tools so that I never had to be alone again. I learned how to live like an adult and have genuine relationships with other human beings. I gained a sense of self respect, love, and pride from the challenges I was given by staff. I was able to work through the recent loss of my father and I achieved my goal of not taking any psychiatric medication.
I learned that life is an endless balancing act. I have to continually work on myself and my relationships with the people in my life. The staff at Sustain Recovery are all incredibly experienced and spiritual. They were available to me whether I wanted their help or not. Through their efforts and experience, I experienced the inner workings of having an intimate, loving relationship with a loving creator.
Sustain Recovery is “home” for me. I discovered a loving, caring family that helped launch me to a place I would have never dreamed and, if I would have dreamed it, I would never have believed I would be able to accomplish it.

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