Programs for Overcoming Process Addictions

While many people initially assume that substances are the only thing that can be addictive, they underestimate the power of behavioral addictions. Known as process addiction, these also qualify as a verified mental health disorder. As such, they require intervention in many cases in order to overcome them. The question is: what is the process addiction treatment really like?

At Emerald Isle Health & Recovery, we have a robust program to assist you in dealing with addictive behaviors. Keep reading to learn about how we can help you tackle your behavioral addiction with help from our team of skilled and experienced clinicians.

Do You Have a Process Addiction?

Internet addiction

Before diving into the treatment plan available for those with process addiction, it is essential to understand how the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) defines this term. Currently, the only acknowledged process addiction is gambling addiction. Many researchers are hopeful that in future versions of the DSM, other process addictions will be included.

A few other types of addiction that could fall into this category include:

Because of the wide-reaching spheres where process addiction can occur, it may go undetected for a while. You may find yourself frequently preoccupied with your addiction and slowly lose control over how frequently you engage in it. Even if you suffer negative consequences from it, you will continue to seek it out.

Chances are that you use this habit to cope with other difficult feelings in your life and may feel distressed if you try to stop it. If you cannot engage in it for a period of time, you may find that you experience emotional withdrawal symptoms. These can clue you into the severity of your process addiction and help pave the way for treatment.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Process Addiction Treatment

Like many addictive behaviors, the gold standard for treatment is considered to be cognitive behavioral therapy. In this clinical setting, you will explore the triggers that contribute to your addiction. With professional help, you can start to modify your thoughts and feelings that lead you to engage in problematic behavior like gambling, pornography, sex, shopping, or even work.

CBT focuses on how your thoughts and feelings influence your overall actions. In a process addiction, you may start with a thought about how stressful life is because of a situation at work or with your spouse. This leads to a feeling of overwhelm and sadness. You do not have the coping skills in place to handle the influx of feelings, so you turn to your behavioral addiction to cope.

While this may be the normal pattern for people who have a process addiction, it does not have to be the only way.

A skilled clinician can help you interrupt this cycle and put new coping skills in place of your behavioral addiction. It will take several sessions for you to achieve the desired goal of interrupting the cycle that leads to engagement in your addictive behavior. Be sure to stick with it for the long haul to see the best outcomes.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Commit to Change

Under the umbrella of cognitive behavioral therapy lies acceptance and commitment therapy. This is another tool that may be used to help you gain control over your addictive behavior and start to make real steps toward change. It starts by surveying your emotions and simply accepting them for what they are.

You will no longer ignore or deny those feelings, trying to stuff them down by using your process addictions to cope. Instead, you will work to accept your feelings and understand that they are there to serve a purpose — to let you know that something is amiss.

Once you have mastered the art of sitting with your feelings, it is time to commit to change. Instead of allowing your emotions to dictate what you will do next, you can commit to making positive strides to incorporate those feelings into your day-to-day life instead of turning to a sex addiction, gambling addiction, or other process addictions.

Support Groups for Social Accountability

Support Group

Another process addiction treatment is the inclusion of support groups. This allows you to process emotions and behaviors with a group of people struggling with similar issues to your own. Even if they may not have the same process addictions, they understand the cause and effect of feeling compelled to engage in these problematic behaviors.

Social and sober supports are an important component of altering your behavior. It makes you feel less alone, but it also gives you a place to reach out for help and support when necessary. You may strike up a friendship with some of the members of your group, allowing you to reach out to them even between sessions.

In addition, you will also have the support of people who may be further along in their healing journey than you are at the moment. This gives you an example to work toward. These people may be able to share with you what helped them in the early days of their addiction treatment where you may be now.

Not to mention, you might get some important coping skill ideas from the group dynamic. It is a lot more interactive with people volunteering information, thoughts, and feelings compared to the one-on-one nature of traditional talk therapy and CBT.

Family Therapy Sessions for Increased Support

Of course, it is important to make sure that you have people outside of your treatment involved in your daily life. Like a drug addiction, process addictions can strain your relationships with your family. You may not be able to repair the damage on your own. To this end, family therapy sessions are often required to start patching the damage.

This gives you a safe space to share what is going on in your life with your family. It also allows them the space to share the hurt they have felt from your addictive actions. With a therapist acting as a moderator and an objective third party, this type of therapy can be extremely healing.

Together, you can all learn what you need to do to steer clear of your addiction moving forward. Your family will better understand how to support you. Meanwhile, you will have a greater idea of the impact of your addiction. This can give you a reason to pause before you engage in the problematic behavior again.

Medication Options for Process Addictions

Medication Options for Process Addiction

Depending on the nature of your process addiction, you might benefit from a medication management piece. There are a number of medications available that can help you to cope with the beginning of your treatment. It can be quite stressful and challenging to give up your process addiction. In turn, this can lead to mental disorders like depression and anxiety.

While some people try to white-knuckle their way through this discomfort, there may not be a need. If you are dealing with the underlying causes of a sex addiction, internet addiction, or other types of process addictions, then you might want to pharmaceutically treat it.

A skilled psychiatrist or doctor like those found at Emerald Isle Health & Recovery can prescribe mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications to help. Some people will remain on these prescriptions long-term while others may only need them in the early days of recovery.

Simultaneous Substance Addiction Treatment

Oftentimes, people segue from a process addiction to a substance addiction. As they try to force their process addiction into extinction, their brain searches for a new way to cope with those difficult thoughts and feelings. Alcohol or drugs is a logical choice for many people, but this creates a new and unintended problem.

It can help to undergo treatment for substance abuse at the same time as your process addiction to prevent this problem from growing out of hand. Substance addictions are quite prevalent, with 13 percent of people over age 12 using an illicit drug each month.

While a process addiction does not require you to go through medical detox, a substance abuse issue may require medical intervention. You will want to be sure that you are in a safe place if you are dealing with simultaneous substance abuse.

Be careful of swapping your behavioral addictions for substance addictions. If you already have a tendency to use drugs or alcohol to cope with your feelings when your behavioral addictions are unavailable, then you may want to consider bringing this up with your therapist in the beginning of your treatment.

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Levels of Care for Process Addiction Treatment

When you have embraced that your process addictions have led to negative consequences, it may be time to consider what level of treatment you need. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to coping with your addiction. From inpatient to outpatient, you should consider what level of care you need for process addiction treatment.

Inpatient Care for Intense Focus on Treatment

Some people who are caught in the negative consequences of their process addictions may find that they cannot stop themselves from engaging. For example, a person with a gambling addiction may not be able to stop placing bets or visiting the casino. If you feel like you are out of control, you may need a safe place to land. Inpatient and residential care could be the best choice for you.

You will not be able to leave the facility, and you will not be able to engage in your behavior of choice. This is also great for those who have co-occurring substance abuse as it helps you to remain clean. Inpatient treatment is a great first step if you need to restrict your access to behavioral addiction and steer clear of compounding the negative consequences.

Partial Hospitalization for Structure

Partial Hospitalization

When you graduate from inpatient care, you may choose to step down to partial hospitalization. This allows you to have a highly structured day filled with therapy sessions, group sessions, and therapy with your family members during the day. You will not have access to engage in your process addictions during the day.

With that being said, you do have more freedom in the evenings and nighttime hours. At the end of each treatment day, you will return home to sleep in your own bed. This can be a test of your willpower to avoid engaging in behavioral addiction. It is less restrictive which can be a good thing for those who are learning to live on their own terms.

Outpatient Treatment for Flexibility

As you continue to step down, you might turn to outpatient treatment. This is also ideal for people who may have only a mild process addiction that is not dramatically interfering with their ability to live their life without consequences. Outpatient treatment allows you to come and go from Emerald Isle Health & Recovery at will.

You will attend your scheduled individual therapy sessions, group sessions, and even medication management. However, you are free to leave between each of these sessions. Instead of being stuck at the facility, you have the ultimate freedom alongside the accountability of attending your sessions and sticking with your treatment plan.

This freedom also allows you to pursue other treatments that can help you cope such as exercise and dealing with physical health problems that contribute to your condition.

Some people prefer to try to start with outpatient therapy and see how their treatment plan goes. They can always step up to a higher level of care if necessary. Similarly, you could start with a higher level of care and step down as you become more comfortable coping.

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Finding Help for Process Addiction Treatment

Whether you are struggling with an internet addiction or a sex addiction or something in between, you need professional help. Emerald Isle Health & Recovery is here to support you in your effort to get help. From residential treatment to flexible outpatient treatment options, we have the level of care you need to tackle your addiction head-on.

We offer a safe and peaceful facility where you can focus on your treatment under the watchful eye of our highly-trained and skilled staff. Our facility has a low client-to-staff ratio so that you get the one-on-one attention needed to conquer your addiction. From traditional talk therapy to alternative therapies, you will have access to a robust treatment plan made specifically for you.

You can get the help you need today for any type of addiction at Emerald Isle Health & Recovery. Insurance may even cover a portion of your treatment. Reach out to us today to learn more about our approach to process addiction treatment and to find the option that is right for you!