Process addictions are behavioral addictions rather than drug or alcohol addictions. Individuals who have an overwhelming impulse to engage in a specific behavior even when it results in negative consequences may have a process addiction.
Examples of process addictions include compulsive behavior related to gambling, sex, shopping, gaming, pornography, exercise, work, and eating issues. As the individual anticipates and then engages in the behavior, they typically experience a heightened mood, often followed by anger, fear, shame, and guilt after the behavior ends.
Addiction is a Family Disease
No matter what addiction or combination of addictions your loved one suffers from, the consequences affect the entire family. Emotional well-being, physical health, and relationships between family members are all impacted by a loved one’s addictive behavior.
Family support is a valuable component of the recovery process. Whether or not your loved one is in a recovery program, there are steps you can take to provide a home environment that promotes healing for you and your family members. These include:
- Educate Yourself. Understand that behavioral addiction is serious but treatable, and recognize why it is so difficult for your loved one to stop the addictive behavior on their own.
- Attend Support Group and Family Therapy. As a member of a support group, you will learn how others are dealing with a situation similar to your own. Family therapy provides a safe place for each family member to express their feelings, improve their communication skills, and learn how to stop enabling addictive behavior.
- Commit to a Healthy Lifestyle. The healthier you are physically and mentally, the better able you are to provide a calm environment for your family. Eat nutritious meals, exercise regularly, practice stress reduction techniques, get sufficient sleep, meditate, practice mindfulness, pray, engage in activities that make you happy, and avoid negative news, books, TV, and movies.
For more tips, see Taking Care of Yourself on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website.
Where Families Can Find Help
NAMI provides a free peer-led support group for any adult with a loved one who has experienced symptoms of a mental health condition.
The NAMI HelpLine provides a nationwide peer support service that provides information, resource referrals, and community support for individuals living with a mental health condition.
Resources for Gambling Addiction
Gambling addiction, also called compulsive gambling or gambling disorder, means a person cannot control the impulse to gamble, even though the behavior causes negative consequences to themselves and others.
It is the only process addiction currently recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5). However, it is possible future revisions will include additional process addictions.
- Gamblers Anonymous is a 12-step support program for individuals suffering from gambling addiction.
- Gam-Anon provides resources for families dealing with gambling addiction, including information on how to recognize a gambling addiction, how gambling affects the lives of family members, support group meeting information, and other literature and resources.
- Problem Gambling Resources in Florida provides information for anyone affected by gambling addiction in the state.
Resources for Sex Addiction
- COSA is an anonymous, international 12-Step recovery program for those whose lives have been affected by compulsive sexual behavior.
- SLAA is a 12-step program for individuals struggling with sex and love addiction who are seeking a peer support community.
- S-Anon International is a 12-step program providing support for family and friends of sex addicted individuals.
Resources for Shopping Addiction
Shopping addiction refers to compulsive shopping which continues despite damaging consequences to relationships, financial security, and more.
- Recoveries Anonymous is an online support system for anyone affected by shopping addiction or other process addictions.
Resources for Gaming Addiction
Gaming addiction refers to the compulsive need to play video games, even in the face of negative consequences. This addiction can negatively affect a person’s health, relationships, social life, and performance at work or school.
- Game Quitters: Parent Support Facebook Page.
- Game Quitters: Game Addiction Resources for Parents and Loved Ones.
Resources for Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are serious but treatable mental illnesses that can be fatal without intervention. Eating disorders are characterized by disturbed eating habits, often accompanied by an intense fear of weight gain. More people die from the eating disorder anorexia nervosa than any other mental disorder.
- Help for individuals with an eating disorder and their families is available via the National Eating Disorders Helpline. You can call, text, or chat.
- The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) provides a wealth of educational materials for families or individuals seeking information on eating disorders, a Parent Toolkit on how best to support a family member or friend suffering from an eating disorder, and information on the family’s role in helping a loved one with an eating disorder.
- Overeaters Anonymous is a peer support community for individuals struggling with eating-related challenges.
Resources for Dual Diagnosis
Dual diagnosis means a person has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and one or more co-occurring mental health disorders. All disorders should be treated simultaneously for successful recovery.
- Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA) is a 12-step support group for those with a dual diagnosis, families, and friends.
Reach Out for Help
If you or a loved one is struggling with a process or substance addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357, the NAMI HelpLine, or an addiction specialist in your area for guidance.
Turning Point of Tampa’s goal is to always provide a safe environment and a solid foundation in 12-Step recovery, in tandem with quality individual therapy and groups. We have been offering Licensed Residential Treatment for Addiction, Eating Disorders and Dual Diagnosis in Tampa since 1987. If you need help or know someone who does, please contact our admissions department at 813-882-3003, 800-397-3006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.