Behavioral Addiction vs Substance Addiction: Know the Difference

behavioral addiction vs substance addiction

Shocking statistics reveal that 40% of all the hospital beds in the US treat conditions that emanate from alcohol addiction. Whether it is drugs, gambling, alcohol, internet or gaming addiction your brain cannot tell a difference. All are addictions with one main similarity, you really can’t stop it.

The bottom line is in the event that a habit changes into an obligation then it is safe to conclude that the same is an addiction. For purposes of rehabilitation, it is, however, important to know the difference between behavioral addiction vs substance addiction.

If you are wondering how the distinction can be drawn, here are a few differences between the two types of addictions.

1. What Are You Dependent On?

Substance addiction is the compulsive use of alcohol or drugs. This is despite the negative consequences involved.

You have probably come across those people who are good at what they do but only after taking alcohol or some other substance. Such people will need the drug to feel ‘normal and often experience withdrawal symptoms when they are not under influence.

Alcohol or substance addiction must be quite familiar. What most people are unaware of is behavioral addictions, yet I could make a very long list of addictive behaviors.

Under this category, there are different types of addictions all of which involve a person being dependent on pleasurable behaviors. The list of addictions ranges from internet to social media, to shopping, shopping, sex, and pornography to mention but a few.

2. The Dependency

Unlike substance addicts, behavioral addicts are not physically dependent on anything. Theirs are frequent cravings that they feel an urgent need to satisfy. It’s therefore quite easy to hide a behavioral addiction because there are no withdrawal symptoms involved.

Conversely, alcohol and substance addicts are heavily dependent on various types of drug abuse. This is to an extent that they experience withdrawal symptoms when consumption is stopped. One can identify a drug addict through needle marks, appearance and personality changes.

3. Treatment Options

Your doctor will advise on various ways which you can overcome an addiction. Generally, there are more interventions that exist for drug addicts, unlike behavioral addicts.

Alcohol and substance-related addictions are dealt with using an abstinence-based approach. This involves helping an addict to stop the usage of the drug. Experts know what to do to assist a substance addict who is willing to overcome an addiction.

If you are looking to counter a behavioral addiction, the abstinence-based approach is not suitable. This is so because the tendencies involved are not necessarily harmful. They are dangerous when practiced excessively. For example, it is unrealistic to advise a sex addict to cut off all social relations.

Behavioral Addiction vs Substance Addiction

Behavioral addiction vs substance addiction tampers with the normal functioning of the body when you become dependent.

The good news is that knowing the difference between these types of addiction goes a long way towards identifying where to get help.

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