An addictive behaviour is a behaviour, or a stimulus related to a behaviour (e.g., sex or food), that is both rewarding and reinforcing, and is associated with the development of an addiction. Addictions involving addictive behaviours are normally referred to as behavioural addictions. People can become addicted to almost any behaviour that elicits a strong reward in the individual.
Addictive behaviour should not be confused with compulsion, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
An addiction is, by definition, a form of compulsion, however, in addiction, the desire and motivation to use a substance or engage in a behaviour arises because it is rewarding. In contrast, someone who experiences a compulsion as part of obsessive-compulsive disorder may not perceive anything rewarding from acting on the compulsion.
What are the signs of Addictive Behaviour?
- Spending the majority of your time engaging in the behaviour, thinking about or arranging to engage in the behaviour, or recovering from the effects.
- Becoming dependent on the behaviour as a way to cope with emotions and to “feel normal”.
- Continuing despite physical and/or mental harm.
- Having trouble cutting back despite wanting to stop.
- Neglecting work, school, or family to engage in the behaviour more often.
- Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal (for example, depression, irritability) when trying to stop.
- Minimising or hiding the extent of the problem.
Help with Addictive Behaviour.
If you think you or your loved one may be suffering from Addictive Behaviour or any other, call to talk about the signs of Addictive Behaviour and your individual situation.