Has Digital Media Affected Process Addictions?

Has Digital Media Affected Process Addictions?

The effects of digital media on process addictions

The word “addict” often paints a picture of a drug user or alcoholic, but substance addiction is not the only type of medically recognized addiction. People can become dependent on compulsive behaviors, such as gambling, eating, engaging in sexual activity, shopping, exercising, and many other activities that are not generally harmful in moderation but can be devastating in excess. These are called behavioral or process addictions.

Process Addictions and Digital Media

Unfortunately, indulging in these addictions is becoming easier as digital media becomes a larger part of everyday life. Where people once had to make a trip to the store to satisfy the impulse to shop or to a casino or club to gamble, these activities are now accessible with a few clicks. Video games can be played online. Ads plastered all over digital media present idealistic representations of the body that lead to poor self-esteem and the temptation to indulge in harmful eating habits or excessive exercise. Internet pornography, cyber-sex and apps that connect users with sexual partners in their area make developing and engaging in sexual addiction easier than ever.

Digital media has done more than impact the development and accessibility of compulsive behaviors. It has enabled addicts to be more secretive about their behaviors and more able to hide the activities in which they participate from even their closest loved ones. The accessibility may even stop an addict from recognizing that he or she has a problem.

Like substance addictions, environmental and genetic factors lay the groundwork for process addictions. Examples of such factors include traumatic experiences and inherited psychological disorders characterized by poor impulse control and poor coping skills. Process addictions follow the same patterns as substance addictions, and individuals with process addictions require similar psychological treatment.

Addiction to Digital Media

The modern impulse to feel connected and in communication with others at all times can lead to texting, social media and internet addictions. Because digital media is such a fixture in so many people’s lives, it is all too easy to overlook a serious addiction to digital devices and social media, as well as any addiction in which one can engage through it. Many people are unable to determine the difference between using social media as a tool for engaging in relationships and using it in a way that interferes with daily life and relationships.

Many individuals could live healthier and more fulfilling lives if our culture was more aware of the potentially destructive consequences of process addictions, as well as the availability of treatment that helps many people escape the rut of damaging compulsive behaviors.

Help for Process Addictions

If you or a loved one is struggling with a behavioral addiction, call our toll-free helpline to speak with an admissions coordinator about your professional treatment options. We are available 24 hours a day to help you find the treatment program that suits your individual needs. Please call today.