Addiction and Mental Health Counselors can earn continuing education credits (CEs) for this course at:

Unlimited Counseling CEUs for $59
Specialty Certificate tracks starting at $89
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AllCEUs is also approved as an education provider for NAADAC, the States of Florida and Texas Boards of Social Work and Mental Health/Professional Counseling, the California Consortium for Addiction Professionals and Professions. Our courses are accepted in most states through those approvals.

Define behavioral addictions
Examine some of the most common behavioral addictions
Explore similarities and differences between behavioral and chemical addictions
Discuss similarities and differences in treatment between chemical and behavioral addictions
What is an Addiction
A substance, person or activity
Outside of ones self
Used to escape from emotional or physical pain
Continued despite negative consequences

Paradigm Shift
Addiction serves a survival purpose.
Addiction represents the best way a person had to cope until now
The addiction can become the person’s best friend
Everyone’s ability to deal with life on life’s terms differs
Patients can address the ways issues from the past are impacting them today
How does it start
Lack of early bonding (Trust/Mistrust)
Lack of confidence (Industry/Inferiority)
Lack of self-esteem (Identity or Intimacy)
Recreational or Prescribed Use
Mental Health Issues
Jellenik Curve
Recreational Use
Occasional Use for Relief
Increasing craving
Increased triggers (stimulus generalization)
Unable to discuss the problem
Efforts to control fail (increased time and energy)
Continued use despite negative consequences
Stop using see the original problems plus the addiction-created problems
Use again

Addiction Characteristics
Inability to consistently Abstain
Impairment in Behavioral control
Craving; increased “hunger” for drugs or rewarding experiences;
Diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships
A dysfunctional Emotional response
Chemical Addictions
Chemical Addictions
Substances directly impact the brain and/or nervous system

Behavioral Addictions
Activities that impact the pleasure centers
Adrenaline rush
Dopamine rush
Endorphin rush

Similarities Between Behavioral And Chemical Addictions
Cause chemical reactions in the brain
Are a tool to escape or avoid pain
Produce a tolerance
Have psychological withdrawal symptoms
Can have devastating biopsychosocial consequences

Differences Between Behavioral And Chemical Addictions
Abstinence is not possible or ideal for some behavioral addictions (i.e. sex, food, shopping, exercise)
Many treatment centers ignore the substitution of a behavioral addiction for a chemical addiction
Apply It
Think about behaviors that your patients engage in when they are deprived of their addiction of choice. What behavioral substitutions appear?
Behavioral Addictions
Basic Behavioral Principles
When faced with two choices, the tendency is to choose the more rewarding option
To increase motivation for change the less rewarding choice must become more rewarding
The alternate behaviors need to be equally rewarding as the “addiction.”

When assessing a person for mental health issues, always ask about how they cope and apply a modified CAGE questionnaire
Have you ever felt you needed to Cut down?
Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your behavior?
Have you ever felt Guilty about your behavior?
Have you Eliminated or reduced important roles, tasks or relationships because of your behavior