Therapy for Process Addictions
Do you have to jog every day to feel calm and good about yourself? Is shopping the only way you can cope with feeling sad or lonely? Did you miss your kid’s recital because you were playing the slots?
If there is a certain activity you use to get calm, feel happy, control anxiety, or fight depression it’s possible you might have a process addiction.
Everyone has certain habits we engage in as temporary distractions from disappointment, frustration, or worry. These are often called coping mechanisms, and they help us get through unusually difficult days. When we’re having a normal day, we don’t need to participate in those activities. Our emotions and thoughts are even-keeled, and we don’t even think about those habits.
But sometimes there is an overwhelmingly irresistible need to participate in a certain activity before you can feel able to take care of work and family responsibilities. If that is happening for you right now, it’s possible that your coping mechanism has become a process addiction.
Process addictions work like addiction to drugs and alcohol, altering brain chemistry to give you a kind of emotional high. You feel better, maybe even better than good. You want more of that feeling, and so the activity starts to demand more of your time and attention.
Engaging in your “addictive activity of choice” helps you managing your emotions. They can be addressing a psychological craving you aren’t even really conscious that you have. But the cost eventually gets too high — in things your forget and neglect in order to fix the craving.
Maybe you’ve suspected that you could be addicted to shopping when you already have more clothes or knicknacks or jewelry than you need, or have room for. Perhaps you know you are addicted to gambling every weekend, because you are missing out on socializing with friends and cheering on your kids at their soccer games. It could be that you are addicted to eating carbs, sugar, or caffeine, and you’re aware of feeling differently in your body when you overload on them to stuff down a troublesome feeling, or ramp up your energy.
You might be wondering if you are addicted to sex, or to the idea of love, or to a relationship with certain person. If so, see my page for sex addiction or the page for love and relationship addiction.
What you might not know is that trying to stop a process addiction can be just as psychologically impactful as quitting drugs cold turkey. Maybe you’ve already tried to change, and found yourself in an unexpected and uncomfortable process of withdrawal.
As an addictions specialist, I can help.
Psychotherapy for process addiction will help you understand what is driving your emotions and cravings. You’ll learn about how the activities you are choosing can both feel good and be bad for you. And therapy will help you heal the underlying issues that are causing the processes to have become dysfunctional in your life. All therapy services are private and confidential.
Make an appointment today. You can gain release from process addiction. Let’s get started.