Not all addiction is tied to a substance. There are plenty of other addictions that can be just as destructive. These compulsive behaviors are sometimes called "process addictions." The brain and body include a complex network of chemical, electrical, and structural components that can be manipulated by intoxicating behavior, the same way they can be manipulated by powerful substances.
What makes it so intoxicating? Essentially the reward centers in the brain, along with the nervous system, get high-jacked by powerful (intoxicating) experiences that stimulate pleasure and relief. Much like substance abuse, certain behavior is intoxicating when it is new and exciting. Though, as the behavior loses excitement, new and novel experiences are sought to produce similar please and relief. This is called tolerance. Tolerance just means that the same amount produces less of the desired result (pleasure and relief).
These behaviors, then, increase in their destructive nature the more a person is unable to control their behavior, especially as the behavior escalates in to increasingly more risky behavior. So what are some of these behaviors?
Types of behavior
What to do
If you or your spouse is struggling in this area, don't ignore it. Initially, denial keeps the individual in their destructive pattern, but they don't have to stay there. If you think you or your spouse has a problem in one of these areas, get help. And for the spouse who won't get help, you'll need to focus on protecting yourself and your family from the destructive behavior. This can mean moving out for a certain period of time, attending self-help meetings for codependency, and setting very specific and firm boundaries. If you need help, we'd love to support you. Call us directly, or fill out the form to get help today.