What is Behavioral Addiction?

Essay by massi1234College, UndergraduateA, May 2005

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People living in modern times have benefited from many discoveries and inventions that have enriched the entire world. Scientists have spent years and even their lifetime searching for new scientific knowledge and discovering new ways to improve our lives. However, a move toward the industrialization and urbanization processes or an improvement of technology not always corresponds to an increase in benefits for society. In the past, when someone did something to excess, it was considered a bad habit. Now, as we all know, if we overdo something, it is called addiction. Overworking, gambling, overspending are some of the sins of the 21st Century brought about by recent advances.

Addiction is a demanding urge to use a substance or to do an activity, regardless of its consequences. Addictions to drugs and alcohol are by far the most common and most researched compulsions; however, addictions to particular activities and behaviors can be equally destructive.

A behavioral addiction is an activity that is out of control: the person involved chooses doing it over anything else, no matter what effect the choice might have in his or her life. For instance, a person addicted to gambling might choose to gamble with money needed to buy food for the family. One addicted to eating would ignore the dangers of obesity, physicians' warnings, or the concerns of one's family. A workaholic would burn the midnight oil at the office to achieve his own success. Addictions of behavior are less often seen as problems by our society than addictions to drugs and alcohol, in part because they are activities common to everyday life. Everyone eats, for example, work is the most productive factor in our society, and gambling is a popular recreation. Therefore, the problems caused by behavioral addictions are often less visible and have less impact...