Behavioral addictions – what are they? Definition of the term

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Louise Barnett
Louise Barnett
I'm Louise Barnett, the editor at, where my days are filled with the exploration of myriad subjects that pique my curiosity and feed my ever-growing appetite for knowledge. From the latest in laser cutting technology to the timeless wisdom of yoga and meditation, my work allows me to dive deep into topics that not only fascinate me but also have the potential to improve our daily lives. I have a particular interest in how ancient practices meet modern life, leading me to explore everything from Ayurveda to minimalism and beyond. My journey has taught me the importance of balance—between innovation and tradition, action and reflection, and between the digital and the natural world. Each article I publish is a step towards understanding this balance better, hoping to inspire others along the way.

Behavioral addictions are increasingly diagnosed disorders in our society. They are as harmful and dangerous as addictions to psychoactive substances. Therefore, it is worth learning more about them in order to identify the risks and prevent the emergence and development of behavioral addictions.

What are behavioral addictions? Definition of the term

Behavioral addictions are disorders involving an increasingly strong and persistent focus on a particular behavior that brings temporary pleasure and relief. They usually occur in the form of obsessions, addictions or deep dependencies. Sometimes a behavioral addict loses control over his or her behavior and is unable to give it up, even if the behavior itself is harmful.

How do behavioral addictions work?

Behavioral addictions work in a similar way to addictions to psychoactive substances. A person addicted to a behavior seeks in it an escape from everyday problems, a sense of security and, above all, temporary pleasure. Performing the addictive behavior raises the level of endorphins (happy hormones) in the brain, which gives temporary relief and satisfaction in the short term. However, as time passes, the behavioral addict begins to notice that his or her needs are increasingly difficult to satisfy.

Behavioral addictions – examples

Behavioral addictions can take many forms, depending on the person and their environment. Some of the most well-known behavioral addictions include gambling, shopaholism, sexaholism, excessive use of social media, store window display and even exercise.

Gambling is an addiction that involves frequent and excessive gambling or betting. Gambling addicts lose control over their behavior and are unable to give up gambling, even if it becomes harmful. Shopaholism is a shopping addiction that involves frequent and excessive buying of things one doesn’t actually need, often leading to financial problems. Sexaholism is an addiction that involves excessive and frequent sex or seeking sexual adventures.

Behavioral addictions vs addictions to psychoactive substances

Behavioral addictions and psychoactive substance addictions differ in many ways. For example, a person addicted to psychoactive substances may feel a physical need to take the substance, while a behavioral addict feels no physical symptoms. A psychoactive substance addict may exhibit withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the substance, while a behavioral addict will feel constant pressure to return to the behavior.

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