At Beach House Center for Recovery, we offer specialized treatment plans for patients struggling with behavioral disorders that disrupt their ability to function in healthy, positive ways. Our team of addiction care specialists offers decades of experience and expertise in a broad spectrum of addiction disorders, helping patients manage their conditions effectively and reclaim their lives.

Addiction is a highly complex disorder. While most people understand the dangers of substance use disorders – addictions to drugs or alcohol – fewer people recognize the destructiveness of behavioral disorders.

What are Behavioral Disorders?

Behavioral disorders involve impulsive and compulsive activities that produce a reward response. People with behavioral disorders continue to commit destructive behaviors despite the resulting difficulties. Financial hardship, heavy debt, estrangement from friends and family, legal troubles, and even life-threatening medical problems can result from addictive behaviors.

The most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has classified only pathological gambling as a behavioral disorder. However, other common compulsive behaviors can include shopping, risk-taking, sexual activity, internet use, and playing video games. When they become disruptive to normal functioning, they can be considered a behavior disorder.

Pathological Gambling

All behavioral addictions stimulate the brain’s reward responses, but gambling might be among the most destructive behavioral disorders.

Pathological gambling can cause elevated stress signals, diminished judgment, and co-occurring emotional and medical disorders. Many casinos provide free alcoholic beverages at gambling tables – gambling is often paired with alcohol consumption and can contribute to substance use disorders.

Even the casinos themselves can exacerbate behavioral disorders. Because casinos run 24 hours a day, they can impair the participants’ sense of time and cause disordered sleep and impulsivity. Moreover, the lights and activity on casino floors have been found to increase engagement and stimulate a response similar to substance use.

However, while casino environments are believed to intensify addiction disorders, people who struggle with problematic gambling might participate in sports betting, lotteries, or online poker, regardless of the setting.

Signs and Symptoms of Behavioral Disorders

In addition to gambling disorders, there are several other common behavioral addictions, including the following:

  • Exercise
  • Food addiction/disordered eating
  • Internet addiction
  • Internet gaming
  • Plastic surgery
  • Sexual activity
  • Shopping
  • Risk-taking/thrill-seeking
  • Tanning

Signs a person might have a behavioral disorder include the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety or irritability when unable to perform an activity
  • Feeling worthless when not performing the activity
  • Performing an activity despite resulting feelings of shame or embarrassment
  • Neglecting personal or professional responsibilities to engage in a problematic behavior
  • Increasing the amount of time or money spent on an activity to achieve the desired effect
  • Failing to stop engaging in an activity despite negative health, financial, legal, or personal consequences
  • Needing financial assistance to continue to perform an activity
  • Becoming alienated from family and friends as a result of performing an activity

Treatment for Behavioral Disorders at Beach House Center for Recovery

At Beach House Center for Recovery, we provide specialized treatment programs to address the underlying causes of behavioral addiction disorders as they co-occur and amplify abuse of drugs and alcohol. Our team of compassionate, experienced mental health clinicians offers empathetic care for people struggling with a broad spectrum of addiction and co-occurring disorders.

For additional information about our approach to addiction treatment, please get in touch with our team today.