A behavioural addiction is an involuntary compulsion to engage in an activity that is stimuli-rewarding, but not substance-related. There is no addiction to harmful solid substances, such as drugs or alcohol, involved. It is a type of mental “reward” that satisfies a compulsion without requiring the addict to physically absorb a “mood enhancing” substance.
These compulsive behaviours are engaged in despite a range of negative consequences in terms of the person’s physical, mental, social or financial wellbeing.
The addiction is a recurring compulsion; an irresistible, ongoing urge to repeatedly engage in a specific activity, despite the addict knowing that it is harmful in some way.
Sometimes the compulsion may not be about actually doing something, but rather about avoiding something, such as postponing a task, or not doing a task at all. For example, procrastination (when the addict keeps postponing tasks, instead of doing it and getting it over with). The addict will have a history of putting off the fulfilment of tasks, even though they know there may be negative consequences if the task is not done on time.
Behavioural addictions are sometimes also referred to as “natural awards” or “process addictions”.
An eating disorder treatment program would ideally support and care for people in recovery from eating disorders, this includes anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeating & other food and body image related issues.