Residential Treatment and Rehab for Behavioural Addictions
At Paracelsus Recovery, we recognise that behavioural addictions are as detrimental to our health and wellbeing as substance-based dependencies. Our treatment programmes are grounded in empathy and expertise. We believe that, because each person is a unique individual, their treatment programme must also be tailor-made to suit their specific needs.
behavioural addiction treatment
Behavioural addictions, also known as process addictions, are a set of behaviours that a person becomes dependent on and craves. They are a ‘process’ addiction because it is a set of actions or a process that people become addicted to, rather than a substance. The rush the addictive behaviour provides to the brain acts in much the same way as substance-related addiction.
If you think you may have a behavioural addiction, help is available. At Paracelsus Recovery, our treatment for behavioural addictions adopts a similar methodology to how we treat substance-related dependencies. Our therapeutic approach is built upon our core values of empathy, care and dedication to each individual client's wellbeing.
We will provide you with a core psychotherapeutic team consisting of a psychiatrist, live-in therapist and specialist psychotherapist. They ensure that the underlying root causes of your dependency are addressed, processed and overcome. In addition, we provide numerous complementary therapies to minimise stress levels as well as biochemical restoration and medical treatments to re-balance your health on a cellular and biological level.
We will also recommend an aftercare and relapse prevention programme with the understanding that the major challenge in behavioural addiction treatments is not just stopping an activity, but staying stopped after treatment ends.
Behavioural addictions include:
Symptoms of a behavioural addiction include:
- Spending an excessive amount of time engaging in the behaviour to the detriment of your relationships or career.
- Becoming dependent on the activity as a way to cope with emotions and ‘feel normal’.
- Struggling to stop the behaviour despite attempts to quit.
- Minimising, lying and hiding the problem from loved ones.
- Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal (i.e. depression or irritability) when trying to stop.
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Many people find it confusing that someone could become addicted to a behaviour instead of a substance. While we used to think of addiction as a dependency on a chemical, we now know that it is not the external substance we become addicted to but the chemicals it releases within our brains.
When we engage in an activity that keeps us alive or helps us pass on our genes, our reward system sends out a chemical messenger called dopamine which gives us a hit of satisfaction to encourage us to repeat that action. It is these dopamine hits that can become addictive given the right environmental, psychological and biological factors.
Therefore, any activity that releases a rush of dopamine, such as winning big in a casino, taking risks or getting likes on our social media accounts, can also become addictive. The reinforcement of these behaviours can become so strong that some people will go through withdrawal when they stop the behaviour. They can become agitated, have trouble sleeping, undergo personality changes and may become irritable.
Behavioural addictions describe the compulsive and uncontrolled act of engaging in an activity, i.e. an addiction to a certain activity. The symptoms, underlying issues, potential harm and problems resulting from behavioural addictions are often very similar to substance-related addictions. Treatment requires a similarly comprehensive approach.
The most common symptoms include unsuccessful attempts at quitting, a loss of control over how frequently you engage in the behaviour and how much risk you take, engaging in the activity even though you obtain no pleasure from it and the development of specific triggers.
Yes, we treat all behavioural addictions with an intensive, holistic programme provided by our multidisciplinary team. In both London and Zurich, behavioural addiction treatment includes in-depth psychiatric and psychological support, extensive biochemical and neurochemical restoration, gut health and nutritional supplementation.
At Paracelsus Recovery, we adopt a harm-reduction approach to addiction which means we do not advocate life-long abstinence. If abstinence is not an option, we focus on how to recreate a healthy relationship with the behaviour. We strive to help you find moderation, boundaries and peace on all levels: biological, psychological and physical. Our aim is to provide you with the emotional tools required to face life’s stressors and emotional challenges without that dependency on the behaviour for happiness, pain relief or as a shield from these difficult situations.
It depends on the specific addiction. For example, a gambling or shopping addiction could lead to vast economic loss, a sex addiction could lead to destroyed relationships, while exercise addiction may lead to physical issues. In all cases, process addiction will introduce a great deal of stress, fear and pain into the individual’s life, resulting in the worsening of their physical and psychological health.