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Addiction is a rather dangerous word even by itself. You do not have to qualify it or categorize it to know that it can take a toll on one’s health, family, social relationships, work and so on. Typically, people talk about addiction in the framework of:

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Smoking and
  • Gambling to name just a few.

There is also something known as behavioral addiction and here is why you should know about it and why you should seek immediate care and help for the same.

What is behavioral addiction?

It is a compulsion that drives an individual to seek out and repeatedly engage in activities of a specific kind. Even if the person knows that this activity is causing a lot of harm, they cannot help themselves. One of the important points here is that often times, this behavioral addiction is devoid of any drug related addictions. For instance, an addiction to hoarding can be impractical at so many levels.

Sometimes this behavioral addiction takes on more dangerous forms. What if a person is addicted to gambling – cards, racehorses, sports betting – any form whatsoever.

Gambling addiction

The one very important aspect of this form of addiction is the potential of financial ruin. Not all bets pan out in favor of the gambler and here is where gambling addiction can result in:

  • Breakdown of familial relationships.
  • Mental health problems.
  • Strained relationships with friends, colleagues and so on.

The inability to stop gambling at every opportunity is a massively debilitating addiction.

And whether it is gambling or any other kind of behavioral addiction, getting help and getting it immediately is of paramount importance.

Why the urgency?

Behavioral addiction can very quickly escalate into highly dangerous behavior. Take for instance, the compulsive gambler – what happens when he runs out of money for placing his next bet? Will he turn to stealing from the family funds or maybe dipping into the college funds set aside for his children? What if he decides to take loans from money lenders who will have no qualms in resorting to violence to get their loan back?

Stretch the same scenario to any behavioral addict and you will know that there are innumerable ways in which an addict can put themselves and their loved ones in danger. This is precisely why there is a need for getting immediate help.

Get the diagnosis right

Behavioral addiction oftentimes has a trigger. There is a reason why an addict engages in a particular type of activity. Treatment has to start with identifying these triggers. Diagnosis is done by psychologists and behavioral therapists. There are specific programs that aim to help people out of the addiction.

Treatments can then be carried out across multiple platforms such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Psychotherapy.
  • 12-step programs.
  • Counseling.
  • Medication
  • Psychiatric care and so on.

There is one word of caution here – medication cannot really help cure the problem. There is no pill for behavioral addiction. So it has to be a holistic, long-range program that helps people out of these self-damaging behavioral patterns.

New approaches

It is also rather heartening to note that there are new approaches that are helping people deal with behavioral addiction as well. For instance, one approach involves putting the person struggling with addiction in normal circumstances, surrounded by family and friends who are getting affected because of their behavior. In quite a few cases, this individual is able to make a change because he sees the effect unraveling right before his eyes.

 

Another approach is the group approach. An individual going through treatments for online gambling addiction is helped along by his or her community of family and friends who come to the meetings or sessions with the counselor and so on. During such a session, a family member might reveal more about an individual’s behavioral addiction than the individual. This again, could be a much needed wake up call.

When such transactions and communications are carried out in ‘safe’ and neutral zones then the efficacy of treatment increases too.

The psychological angle

Few people with such behavioral problems can turn very depressed. This could be severe or occasional depression. It could be depression that needs medication. Some people may also become suicidal and that can never be a good thing under any circumstances. There is a definite psychological need to address any problem with regards to behavioral addiction and this is important because it can help:

  • Mend the mental health of the individual.
  • Enable the person to have a full and rewarding life.
  • People enjoy the ability to work and interact with social circles in a normal manner.
  • Stave off future problems of destructive behavior and
  • Even prevent escalations into acts of violence.

There is no denying the fact therefore that treating behavioral addiction needs to be done immediately. Getting professional help for the same is the best way to go.

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