Process Addiction



A 'Process Addiction' is a compulsive behaviour, such as compulsive gambling, sexual addiction, eating disorders and spending addictions such as being a shopping continuously. Process addiction is often defined as “A condition in which a person is dependent on some type of behaviour, such as gambling, shopping, or sexual activity.” This term is often used as a blanket for any behavioural addiction which does not involve an addictive chemical such as alcohol or heroin. This is ironic as there are actual chemical processes which occur during the behaviour which are very similar to the chemical changes which take place during substance abuse.

When a habit or hobby becomes an addiction. A process addiction is characterised by:

  • An obsessive need to be involved with the activity, or planning the activity.
  • Neglecting responsibilities in favor of doing the behaviour (Showing up late to work due to gambling late the night before).
  • Your behaviour is interfering with your relationships, such as infidelity, neglect of children or change in friendships.
  • Legal trouble, such as illegal gambling, prostitution, or breaking laws in order to engage in your behaviour of choice.
  • Financial difficulties, such as maxed out credit cards, high level of dept or even dept collectors calling
  • You feel as if you do not have control over whether or not you participate in the activity.
  • Your life started to revolve around your behavioural addiction.

Histrically Process addictions tended to be overlooked by some addiction treatment providers, as they can be overshadowed by substance addictions such as cocaine use or alcoholism. At Ayurva we feel this is unfortunate as the suffering, loss of life and family, and debilitating consequences are no less therefre we have structured addiction treatment programmes specifically for those suffereing from conditions such as gambling, over eating and sex addictions. Process addictions require psychological treatment to be successfully overcome. Even though process addiction is often coupled with drug addiction, as Ayurva we recognise that each addiction needs to be tackled in order for a full recovery to take place.

The reasons that these addictions were often overlooked by other addiction treatment providers of doctors lay in a combination of shame, guilt and lack of understanding. It is somewhat easy to comprehend the chemical addiction of a person who abuses substances while the strong psychological compulsions of the process addict are often ignored. It is not as simple as “just stopping” or “willpower”. There are real chemical and biological changes which occur in the brain of someone who has a process addiction.

This addictive process is complex, and has several influencing factors. An individual’s mental state, genetics, social status and present or past life experiences all influence the addict and the timeline of their addiction. However it is well known both for substance and process addictions that a person’s reward center in their brain is stimulated causing release of chemicals into the body and brain which drive addictive behaviours. Put simply, this chemical charge feels good. So the addict keeps chasing the “high” whether it is the up and down roller coaster of gambling or the highs and lows of cocaine addiction.  Most people enjoy this type of “natural high”. Many people gamble for fun, or get a buzz from finding a real bargain in the sales. Often we enjoy very large meals or enjoy the chase and energy when we are attracted to someone. This is how it can begin for the process addict however for unknown reasons some individuals keep doing the same “feel good behaviour” over and over. This can have very damaging consequences. Obvious side effects of gambling addiction are debt, bankruptcy job and relationship breakdowns. Compulsive eating can lead to health problems and psychological and mental health problems.

Whatever the addiction or compulsion is, treatment is often necessary to completely abstain and make a full and successful recovery. At Ayurva we offer a variety of proven therapeutic interventions either witjin our addiction rehab centres in Lancashire or Bulgaria or with our home addiction treatment programmes or e-recovery programme .  Telephone us on 0845 4670612 or email us for more information.



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