Some behaviors stir chemical responses that the body can become addicted to experiencing. Does a person have gambling problems because they are an addict or can the behavior be changed through simple actions? Are sex addictions chemical responses or simple choices? Do people have food issues because of a body image or could there be an addictive compulsion that drives the problem?
The more that is learned about addictions and how they occur then the more questions seem to arise. The experts are still discussing the difference between a behavior and an addiction and are no closer to a consensus. The issue only becomes even more clouded with the introduction of scientific talk about the chemicals of the mind.
The Dangers of Behaviors
- They can become all consuming. A behavior may start out as simply an activitythat is just enjoyed. It soon rolls into an activity that becomes the major focus of life. It can even begin to push out other relationships or activities. Eventually it becomes a detriment to the life of the individual (and possibly the people around them).
- They can have the same chemical reactions of drugs or alcohol. A person with a food issue that binges will get a sense of euphoria from that binge that comes from a release of dopamine in the brain. The mind then begins to become trained to seek that same high by using the binge as a tool. The person becomes addicted to the binge because that action is needed in order for the dopamine levels to be reached.
- They can risk the life of the user. An example would be a person entangled in sex addiction. As the behavior progresses, the exposure to disease and other dangers grows. It may even be that the dangers from the behavior actually heighten the experience for the user.
- They can risk the finances of the user. The more a person focuses on one activity, the more likely others (like regular attendance at work) will begin to get lost. A person that has become caught up in gambling problems may spend all of their time – and money – trying to get back on the winning side of things.
- They may be easier to hide. Activities that do not leave any visible marks behind can be easier to bury. People that are lost in controlling actions may be able to continue along in their path until the rut is so deep there is no way out.
The experts may not agree about how behaviors and addictions stack up. They will all agree that behaviors can cause devastation in lives. Food issues can destroy the health of men and women alike. Gambling problems can wreak havoc on the finances of a family.
Sex addictions can destroy marriages and lives. The activities may not measure up to full blown addictions, but their label does not matter. Behaviors can and do destroy. They need to be dealt with in the same attitude that addictions are faced down.