What Is a Process Addiction?

A process addiction is a compulsion or dependency on a rewarding behavior, such as sex, gambling, food, shopping, exercising or video gaming. A person with a process addiction continues to engage in the excessive behavior, despite the negative financial, social, mental or physical consequences.

Even without ingesting chemical substances, the person with a process addiction undergoes physiological brain structure changes in a similar fashion to those addicted to drugs or alcohol. Process addictions involve an obsessive need to be involved in or planning one’s activity of choice — to the neglect of his or her responsibilities. Often, process addicts’ lives revolve around their compulsion, even when they don’t want to be doing their compulsion but can’t stop.

Also called behavioral addictions or impulse control disorders, process addictions are increasingly recognized as treatable forms of addiction. Currently, the only behavioral addiction recognized by the American Psychiatric Association in its latest manual is gambling addiction.

However, internet gaming addiction is mentioned as being under review for further study. Many process addictions continue to be studied today for further understanding of their impact on affected individuals.

Types of Process Addictions

Here’s a list of the most common types of process addiction. Click on any of the following items to learn more about that specific process addiction:

Gambling Addiction

Sex Addiction

Food Addiction

Internet/Video-Gaming Addiction

Shopping Addiction

*Other Process Addictions Still Being Studied