Behavioural Addiction: Anything Can Be Addictive!

By Sharon Moore on November 28, 2011

The concept of human beings about addiction is generally related to drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes – the things that are tagged as ‘bad’ by nature. But according to the gambling studies expert Mark Griffiths, people can be addictive to anything so long as there are rewards. Anything means literally everything. Good or bad. A person may become addicted of exercising, cleaning, eating, etc.

The Study

On his 25 years of studying gambling, Griffiths believe that gambling can be just as addictive as any drug. Many people who have been very much engaged in gambling tend to experience negative consequences which range from physical to mental effects. As to the health effects, people who gamble usually suffer from insomnia, stress, digestive problems, migraine, and mood swings. Sometimes, this kind of addiction already affects their family and social life. Whenever they lose or when they attempt to withdraw from such addiction, gamblers experience most of the said symptoms. Some develop suicidal thoughts and extreme depression. They become restless and they experience terrible discomfort.

In fact, gamblers suffer from more severe form of physical effects when trying to quit from this unwanted behaviour than people who are withdrawing from drug addiction.

Griffiths added that if people can be addicted with gambling, it is also possible that they get addicted on any other thing like playing video games, exercising, and work. This means that even if something is designed to give positive effects on people, it may become a source of addiction.

What’s the difference between excessive enthusiasm and addiction?

Excessive enthusiasm on something doesn’t always mean addiction, says Griffiths. One can only say that a person is ‘addict’ over something when he or she suffers from negative consequences. Just like people who have drug addiction. Aside from suffering physical symptoms, they also go through psychological illnesses especially during withdrawal.

So, a person who is very much obsessed in his work may not be called an ‘addict’ unless he or she is already suffering the negative effects out of extreme enthusiasm at work. But the moment it affects that person’s life including his physical and emotional being, that’s the time it becomes addiction.

People may develop addiction over something they normally do. But for behaviour to be considered addictive, it must also bring negative effects to the person. Aside from this, people who suffer from behavioural addiction may be more in need of that something as days pass by until such need becomes uncontrollable that a sudden stop can aggravate their condition.

Behavioural addiction has a several factors. These include the environment where people grew up, their biological predisposition, their personality, attitude, and many more.

More about the study on behavioural addiction can be found in the BBC iPlayer.

If you think you are suffering from behavioural addiction or if you are concerned about someone who is, please visit our homepage and use the search tool to find a counsellor or therapist near you. Alternatively, if you can’t find the right therapist, just fill out this confidential enquiry form and we’ are glad to help.

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