The word “addiction” usually brings to mind substance abuse, but it’s also possible to become addicted to an activity or process, including some everyday tasks. They may not be as obvious as substance addictions like tobacco, alcohol, and drugs, but “process” addictions can be just as dangerous. These mood-altering behaviors or activities can include anything from gambling, sexual addiction, love, work, or shopping to computers, cell phones, eating disorders, etc.
There are so many types of addictions and everyone is addicted to something to some extent at some point in life. Whenever we engage in an activity with the intention of avoiding painful feelings, we are using that activity as an addiction. We can use anything as a way of avoiding how we feel and to avoid taking responsibility for those feelings. Anything can be an addiction, depending on our intention. People sometimes have difficulty understanding process addictions because they believe people should just be able to stop negative behavior — especially when it starts to cause problems with relationships, finances or work — but those with process addictions face the same difficulty stopping as people with an addiction to a drug or other substance.
While a process addiction can quickly become overwhelming, there is help for those who want to get their life back on track. Treatment for a process addiction requires identifying the addictive behavior and making a commitment to put a stop to it. It may sound simple, but it often requires an extensive period of therapy and other techniques.