Internet, Gaming and Pornography are called Process Addictions. These are addictions to activities or processes and can also include eating, tanning, spending and work as opposed to a traditional “substance addiction” like that of drugs or alcohol. The prevailing view is that process addictions are “real” addictions and that they share many similarities with substance addictions. Behavioral addictions can be just as painful and difficult to overcome as drug and alcohol addictions. Research suggests that process addictions impact chemicals in the brain much the same way as substances.
What are the warning signs of process addictions?
- Preoccupation or overwhelming thought of the Internet, gaming or pornography
- Use of the Internet in increasing amounts of time in order to achieve satisfaction
- Continued, unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop web use
- Feelings of restlessness, moodiness, depression, or irritability when attempting to cut down web usage
- Lies to family members, therapists, or others to conceal the extent of involvement
- Use of the addiction as a way to escape from problems or to relieve a dysphoric mood. (e.g. Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, anxiety, depression.)