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The question that is persistent throughout the topic of behavioral addictions is ‘what kind of addictions are there?’ there are two categories of the different addictions that humans experience; the first is the more common and widely acknowledged Substance Use Disorders, and the second Behavioral Addictions or Disorders. Substance use disorders pertain more to substance abuse such as alcohol and drugs, while behavioral addictions are more of coping mechanisms that release dopamine, become impulsive, and dangerous. 


People become addicts when they are dependent on a thing so much that it disrupts their everyday life and affects their relationships with others. These addictive habits can either be harmful to the individual person or to the people around them. Behavioral addiction is often repetitive in nature and it is usually considered harmless because the addict often does not display any symptoms.

Behavioral addiction is often repetitive in nature and it is usually considered harmless because the addict often does not display any symptoms.


Some of the most common addictive behaviors include; 


Gambling is amongst some of the most known and recognized addictions when it comes to behavioral addictions. It is the only behavioral addiction that is recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders because studies have found out that gambling triggers the same neuropathways as an alcohol addiction. Gambling releases dopamine, a chemical in the brain that makes people feel good – kind of like a reward system, which can cause addiction especially when it is scarce. A gambler will want to chase that high and this is what leads them to bet more on different things. What might start off as a gambling problem in soccer can soon escalate to lottery tickets, casino games, racing games, and so on. 


Next on our behavioral addictions list is video game addiction. While there is a lot of debate and controversy surrounding this, video gaming is not necessarily viewed as one of the bad addictions, this is because most people who play video games are teenage boys and it seems to generally keep them out of trouble because all they do is sit in the house and play video games. However, the problem comes in when playing video games takes over their whole life to a point where nothing else matters – they will not eat (enough), sleep (enough), or make it to school. Worse is when they are not able to distinguish real life from virtual reality and they become a danger to themselves and others. Here are a few things on what to do if your child is addicted to video games if you are concerned as a parent or guardian. 


One of the best behavioral addictions examples is pornography and this is because most people can recognize it as a problem when it arises. However, of all the behavioral addictions examples, it is also among one of the hardest to diagnose, this is because most people who are addicted to pornography do not view themselves as addicts or even acknowledge that they have a problem. The only way that pornography can be diagnosed is when another person notices the problem and decides to take action, or if it affects the sex life of the addict to the point where they can either not enjoy sexual encounters the same (because pornography has skewed their way of thinking when it comes to what to expect when being intimate with another), or when they are no longer able to satisfy or be satisfied without the aid of some form of pornographic content. 


Next on the addictive behaviors list we have a sex addiction. This is usually diagnosed in men or people assigned male at birth. Sex addiction simply means that a person gets hypersexual and they act upon it. This could either be a result of seeking a thrill – the uncertainty that sexual intercourse brings in relation to sexual health, or it can be a result of pornography addiction which is usually intertwined with sex addiction. Sometimes, these two types of behavioral addictions go hand in hand because people who are hypersexual may not always have the time or means to find a sexual partner and therefore they turn to pornography to gratify their needs. Similarly, people who are addicted to porn often develop hypersexuality as a symptom of their addiction. 


As stated previously, not all addictions can be seen as bad or harmful especially when it seems like everyone else is doing it. And this leads us to our next item on the list of addictions and bad habits – the internet. Now, using the internet in itself is not a bad thing – however, when you become dependent on the internet and feel as though you cannot live without it, you may have a problem. Keeping in mind that the internet has been beneficial for a lot of us in recent times, it has also brought with it instant gratification which can raise our dopamine. This is why a lot of us are addicted to posting things on our social media, for the dopamine rush when we go viral or get the approval of our mates one way or another. The more interactions you get on social media, the more you are likely to get and stay addicted to it without even noticing it. 

The internet, vis-a-vis social media, has content that can keep you preoccupied and derail you from performing important tasks in your personal or professional life. When you notice that you have been neglecting yourself because of the internet, it might be time to start looking into getting some help or at the very least get a diagnosis. 


Another type of behavioral addiction is shopping addiction. Shopping can become an addiction when it is a frequent recurring behavior of impulse buying usually items that a person does not necessarily need in their life. More often than not, impulse shopping is used as a coping mechanism – to help people escape their emotions or mental pain. The problem with a shopping addiction is that not only can it lead to hoarding, but it can also cause a dent in your finances.  


Another one of the non-drug addictions is plastic surgery. This form of addiction comes about as a result of low self-esteem issues and body dysmorphic disorder. While it is perfectly normal to have insecurities about your body and want to enhance a thing or two to become the version of you that you can be happy with – it is not okay (and also very dangerous) to continuously go under the knife over and over and over again. This is because having that many surgeries can be detrimental to your physical health. 


Another one of the most common types of addiction is food addiction or binge eating disorder. This is often a result of emotional distress such as anxiety and depression and the person uses food to cope with whatever they are feeling without having to address it. Binge eating can lead to obesity and other diseases such as heart congestion and stomach ulcers. 

Oftentimes, people with binge eating disorders will also develop bulimia in an attempt to avoid gaining weight after binge eating. This is because most of them will feel guilty after binge eating and will want to purge themselves by forcing themselves to throw up or go days without eating. 


One of the most personal addictions is a risky behavior disorder. This occurs when a person continuously seeks thrills that are dangerous and can potentially harm them. For example, sky diving, bungee jumping, deep water diving, rock climbing, etc. the thrill provides thrill seekers adrenaline and dopamine which makes their highs feel really great and their lows feel really low. There is no balance to it. This is why they keep searching for more thrills, the more daring and dangerous, the better. Now, while it is obvious to point out that the actions that people with risky behavior disorder seek are dangerous and potentially life-threatening, it is also important to note that they are not seeking death or that they are suicidal. It just means that they like the thrill of almost dying but making it out alive. 


Another one of the non chemical addictions is exercise. This is related to both binge eating disorders and plastic surgery addiction. It comes from deep-rooted body dysmorphia and the desire to sculpt and build oneself so as to fit a certain standard that you believe is the most desirable by others. Extensive exercising and body sculpting can be harmful especially when people resort to using steroids to get their desired results fast and easy. 

11. WORK 

Another type of addiction that is harmful other than drugs is overworking. People who are workaholics tend to neglect aspects of their lives that need attention the most. Usually they are running away from their mental health problems and throwing themselves into work. They build their whole life around their work and often ignore ther health (both mental and physical). 


Behavioral addictions are treatable through residental treatments, therapy, medication, and support groups. 


Most rehabilitaiton centers recognize and treat behavioral addictions. Residental treatments are great for people who are trying to quit cold turkey with their addiction and they know they would not be able to do so on their own. In rehab, they are monitored and have limited access to the outside world and what triggers them. 


Psychotherapy helps with behavioral addictions. A therapist can provide with great alternatives to the addiction being treated and in some rare cases, provide medication to help the patient adjust better and easier. 


Medication is helpful for people whole behavioral addictions were symptoms of anxiety and depression once the root has been identified. It is easier to get rid of or at the very least manage the symptom by treating the cause. 


Support groups for people with behavioral addictions can be a really good form of aftercare. During the recovery journey, it is easy to slip and fall back into old patterns and routines and a support group can help prevent a patient from back sliding. 


What are some worst human addictions that are not behavioral?

Alcohol and drug abuse addicitons are probably some of the worst human addictions to be documented in history. This is because not only is it easy to get addicted to alcohol and drugs and other substances, it is extremely hard to quit and recovery is usually quite brutal and a relapse rate of 60%. Additionally, these types of addictions cause the most deaths (as opposed to other forms of addictions) with drug overdoses and drunk driving accidents. Alcohol and drugs are worse because they make humans reckless and therefore dangerous.

Relapse Rates for Substance Use Disorders

Source: Drugabuse.gov


Any bad habit or excessive behavior can be considered an addiction, it doesn’t necessarily have to have negative side effects or consequences to be considered an addiction. It is considered an addiction because it is being used as a means of escape, or a dopamine rush – both of which have serious negative impacts on the people and those that surround them. If you believe that you or your loved ones are struggling with a behavioral addiction, please seek help from a therapist near you and get a diagnosis on what is going on and if there is anything wrong at all, then get treatment for it and become better. Wishing you the best of luck.





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