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Chemical-Less Compulsions

woman gambles at casino

Not all addictions are fueled by a substance. Behavioral addictions are just as real as substance use disorders. The risk of winning big, the thrill of sexual relations, and the rush from compulsive shopping can become obsessive. “Getting hooked on gambling, sex, shopping, and other behavioral vices is every bit as overwhelming as getting hooked on alcohol and drugs,” says Barbara O’Dair for TIME Magazine. O’Dair spoke with Chris Anderson, a former gambler who now works as a compulsive-gambling counselor. “These days, he says, he has two types of people in his life: ‘those who want to talk to me because they know that I get it, and those who want to avoid me like the plague because they know that I get it.’” Whichever person you may be, you are worth getting help for your addiction. Your addiction is no less because it is chemical-less. Arbor Behavioral Healthcare is here to help.

No external chemical

Even though there is no external chemical that gets you hooked, behavioral addictions are still very real. O’Dair notes that there is a difference, however. “But behavioral addictions are just that — behavioral. No one smokes video games. No one shoots up shopping. Yet the result is the same: the cravings, the compulsions, the need for more and more in pursuit of a high that offers less and less.” That’s the thing about addictions. The same amount will not satisfy you. You will need more and more to receive the same high you once felt. This fuel can lift you up, but it can also tear you down. 

Disrupting life

Although behavioral addictions like gambling, eating, sex, or shopping will not kill you, they do disrupt your daily life. This disruption can come in changes in sleeping and eating habits, loss of family and friends, or financial ruin. For many, all of these things are impacted. What’s difficult about behavioral addictions is that these things, to some extent, cannot be avoided. Eating, shopping, spending money, and sex are essential for human survival.  Pleasure and reward The neurotransmitter dopamine contributes to pleasure, but also “plays a role in learning and memory — two key elements in the transition from liking something to becoming addicted to it,” says O’Dair. “This system effectively teaches the drug user to repeat the behavior, and it’s only a short step to the same circuits teaching us to repeat non-chemically mediated behaviors just as compulsively.”

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare is here to help you get through your addictions and come out on the other side as a stronger person. We can help you. Call us today at 844-413-2690. We can’t wait to speak with you today!