Most people relate the term “process addictions” to sex, eating and gambling disorders. However, there are also other behaviors that can develop into process addictions and are equally destructive. These behaviors can be anything from religious practice to working to exercise, and are often considered good, socially acceptable behaviors.
Of course, as most addiction specialists know, addiction is addiction. In other words, there is no difference in process or substance addictions, other than the methodology. Both are means of self-destruction and usually originate from a deep-seeded emotional issue and a lack of willingness or ability to confront or cope. In excess, these behaviors have the same spiraling impact on the individual and their ability to function as substance or other widely recognized process addictions.
What makes it even more problematic to actually treat these types of obsessive, compulsive behaviors is that there is an overall sense of social approval and validation in pursuing these things. This makes the necessary process of recognizing the existence of a problem quite difficult. Since individuals in active addiction are usually lacking spirituality, financial responsibility or stability and physical fitness, they are actually encouraged to engage in religious practice, work and a steady exercise regimen as part of their recovery.
For these recovering individuals, the potential for substitute addictions is a dangerous reality. Without simultaneously addressing the emotional component of cravings and the thoughts that accompany them, a substitute process addiction can easily result. In this case, relapse may also be at play because, though substance addiction is not being used per say, the individual is still technically in a form of active addiction.
Therefore, though recovering addicts may be searching for a better way to live and non-recovering individuals doing what they think is good or best, there is still a need for caution. Regardless of the life path, it’s all about balance. As such, everything in moderation applies to literally everything—the good, the best and the better.