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Do Behavioral Addictions Increase Substance Abuse?

Behavioral addictions and substance abuse can seemingly go hand in hand. There are many instances where both coexist within the same individual, and this can make life extremely difficult. Additionally, those with behavioral addictions and substance abuses cases have underlying conditions motivating them both.

Day-to-day life can have severe interruptions and both conditions can lead to extreme distress and upset in a person’s life. Receiving proper care for these conditions can make a world of difference by teaching healthy coping skills that can assist a person who is struggling.

What Are Behavioral Addictions?

Behavioral addictions are things that cause a similar reaction in the brain that drugs and alcohol can cause. They provide short-term rewards, making a person feel good. Behavioral addictions can range from sex addiction, to food, gambling, and shopping.

These behaviors release the feel good chemical in the brain, making a person feel good short-term and they often seek out that feeling over and over again resulting in an addiction to the behavior. Much like addiction to substances, this repetitive action of compulsively engaging in the behavior, or using substances, creates a dependence in the person to continue doing it in order to feel good. 

Behavioral Addictions and Substance Abuse

Behavioral addictions and substance abuse problems can go hand in hand. Substance abuse can lead to addiction to these substances, hence the addiction to both can occur. They can have profound impacts on a person’s life and create difficulty in gaining control of life again. Substance abuse is the use of harmful substances such as drugs and alcohol, and this can lead to extreme physical and psychological dependence on the substances.

Addiction occurring can lead to extreme impacts to overall health and wellness, as well as relationships. Behavioral addictions are similar. They involve engaging in behaviors that provide a temporary sense of pleasure. Ultimately, they also lead to negative consequences and impacts to health, relationships and overall wellbeing. 

Both behavioral addictions and substance abuse have underlying factors like genetic predisposition, environmental influences, and psychological vulnerabilities. These factor into a person’s addiction to behaviors and substances. Usually, a combination of psychological, environmental, and biological factors can result in this happening. Treating behavioral addictions and substance abuse usually include a comprehensive approach to all 3 factors.

How They Are Similar

Behavioral addictions and substance abuse share similarities in how they affect a person’s life. Often, a person who has behavioral addictions and tries to stop engaging can turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of coping with the anxieties associated with ending these behaviors. This can inevitably lead to addiction to these substances. Another key connection between the 2 is the way they affect the brain.

Both behavioral addictions and substance abuse can release the pleasure neurotransmitter, dopamine, in the brain making a person feel good when engaging in either behaviors or substance abuse. The person can also experience cravings in both behavioral addictions and substance abuse. So when a person begins shying away from the behaviors, the cravings to gamble, for example, can lead to using drugs and alcohol to keep those feelings at bay. 

Addictive Personalities and Behavioral Addictions

An addictive personality is when someone has a predisposition to things that could potentially become addictive. This can mean they become extremely passionate about things, becoming obsessed. Or they could easily become addicted to things like video games, food, sex, or gambling. Behavioral addictions and the substance abuse connection can be seen here as well. The addictive personality can make these substances and behaviors all the more appealing to someone with an addictive personality.

A person who has an addictive personality can have a hard time with moderation, making them go all in all the time, and causing addiction to the behaviors or substances. Turning to behaviors as a means of coping with the feelings of addictive personality can lead to impacts in both mental and physical wellbeing. Receiving proper care when someone is struggling with behavioral addictions and substance abuse issues is vital to learning positive and healthy coping skills.

Trying to stop without this care can lead to the behaviors and addiction continuing, furthering negative impacts on a person’s life. Therapy is essential to learning proper coping mechanisms and replacing the negative behaviors with positive ones that can lead to a gaining of control back, and learning to live without turning to these behaviors as a coping skill. The reward system in the body can be initiated without turning to harmful behaviors.

Find Freedom from Addiction Today

Behavioral addictions often lead someone to abusing substances like drugs and alcohol as a means of coping. This can lead to a whole different demon a person has to fight, making it extremely difficult to live life on a daily basis.

Substance abuse can lead to addiction to these substances, and that can be dangerous. There is help and hope for a better future. If you or a loved one are struggling, we can help. At Empowered we offer comprehensive and personalized care to those who seek help from us. Our team of professionals is standing by to help.

Call us today and begin recovering from these addictions.

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    Marietta, GA 30066

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