When someone says to you “I’m addicted to Pringles,” they do not really mean that they are addicted. It just means that they really like them. If eating Pringles can have harmful effects towards someone’s life but still continue to eat them, then it can become an addiction. Even those behavioral addictions are not included in the DSM-IV, it does not mean that it should not count as an addiction as anything can be an addiction if it destroys your life.
It is still unsure medically if addictions like gambling, sex, shopping, video games, the internet, eating, and exercise will ever be published in the American Psychiatric Association in a new category away from substance abuse disorder. The behavioral addictions category has been proposed and there are new diagnostic labels like Hypersexuality and Binge Eating Disorder. There have been attempts to form a diagnostic criteria based on the experiences of others that resemble the criteria for alcohol and drug dependence.
The addiction theory in the past was all related to chemical dependence since you eventually become ill. The medical community has now recognized the role of stress and psychological health mixed in with addiction. Compulsive or pathological gambling has been included in the DSM-IV handbook as an impulse control disorder separate from alcohol and drug dependence. Arguments for behavioral addiction being real is that addiction requires a change in your thoughts, reward cycle, social and relationship consequences, and the process of recovery. It is important to keep in mind the addiction process instead of only looking at the particular substance or the behavior on its own. Addiction means avoiding the reality of a situation using a particular substance which involves letting a therapist help you learn healthy coping strategies to help you improve. While these behaviors are used to avoid stress, it can end up bringing more stress.
Then there are those like Dr. Christopher Fairburn who believe that compulsive behaviors are different from addiction. That there are physical consequences from substance abuse and some belittle just how bad too much shopping or eating too much food can be. There is a fear that if these behavioral addictions are real, then anybody can have an addiction. It is important for people to realize that an addiction is anything that you continue to use despite the negative consequences and the strong need for more research to be done on these behaviors.
Located in downtown Midland, The Springboard Center’s mission is to offer programs and services to treat alcohol and drug addiction treatment using an evidence based curriculum, 12 step programs, diet, nutrition, exercise, emotional, mental and spiritual development for a long recovery. For more information, please call us at 432-620-0255 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.