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What are process addictions?

March 30, 2021
All Points North Lodge

What Are Process Addictions?

In this video, APN Lodge therapist Arlene Story, MS, LMHC, LCAC, TEP, CSAT-S, CTT, explains process addictions, also called behavioral addictions.

According to Arlene, process addictions are those addictions that do not involve substances. “So, it includes things like sex addiction, love addiction, codependency, shopping addiction, exercise addiction, workaholism, hoarding, eating disorders, we could go on and on,” Arlene says. “But it's those addictions that we experience and it actually changes how our brain is functioning when we're involved in them.”

How Do Process Addictions Happen?

Although many of these actions involve everyday behaviors, process addictions escalate the behavior to a different level where it triggers an elevated mood, becoming addictive and extremely self-destructive. These behaviors can disrupt daily life, wreaking havoc and causing pain, similar to substance use disorder.

Process addictions can even take a healthy behavior like exercise, for example, and turn it into a damaging addiction. 

“Exercise is healthy but taken to an extreme it becomes very self-destructive,” Arlene adds.

Treatment for Process Addictions

APN Lodge offers addiction treatment to clients struggling with process addictions. Treatment is available at various levels, including our outpatient, intensive outpatient, PHP, and residential programs.

Process addictions also impact family members. APN Lodge aims to support our clients' families by offering free weekly virtual group therapy for the families of current and past clients.

Process Addiction Expertise

With almost 50 years of experience in behavioral health, Arlene Story is a counselor and teacher dedicated to APN Lodge clients and therapists. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Purdue University and an M.S. Ed. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Indiana University. Arlene has provided trainings and presentations on trauma therapy, mental health, and addiction treatment across the US and internationally, and she is the recipient of a host of awards and recognitions. She specializes in working with clients who have suffered trauma in their own lives as well as those whose families have incurred generational trauma or are currently experiencing patterns of dysfunction.

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