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Published on April 9, 2024

Why We Are Increasingly Susceptible to Behavioral Addictions

All around us, there are an increasing number of phenomena that are rapidly taking over a person’s attention, thoughts and behaviour. Whether it’s the endless scrolling of social media feeds, the compulsive need to share photos of one’s lunch, or the irresistible urge to make another spontaneous purchase, all of these reflect, to varying degrees, our propensity to form new types of addictions. Today, we will look at how technological advances and social transformations have influenced the prevalence of behavioural addictions in the modern world.

What is addiction, and how it manifests itself

Addiction is a painful attachment to some object or phenomenon, accompanied by a person’s inability to control his or her behavior. Classic examples are alcohol, drug or gambling addictions. Such conditions are characterized by increased tolerance of the organism, withdrawal syndrome in case of abstinence attempts and strong craving for the object of addiction. More and more often, we are talking about so-called “behavioural” addictions when the object of addiction is not a chemical substance but a certain type of activity.

The World Wide Web: new temptations and new passions

Perhaps the most vivid and discussed example of a new addiction is Internet addiction. This is a condition in which a person is unable to control the time spent online and experiences marked discomfort when access to the Internet is restricted. According to some estimates, up to 8% of the population in developed countries may suffer from this form of addiction.

Internet addiction is closely related to another phenomenon, Internet gambling disorder. This is a condition where computer and gambling games, and especially online multiplayer games, become a compulsive need for a person, crowding out all other areas of life. The World Health Organization has already recognized such a disorder as an independent mental illness. Sites like www.twinspinca.com, which advertise no-deposit bonuses and other casino gifts, play a big role in the development and aggravation of addiction.

The mechanisms of Internet addiction are not fully understood, but they appear to be similar to those that trigger chemical addictions. Involvement of a person in an endless digital stream of stimuli and constant receipt of “rewards” in the form of likes, comments and new impressions apparently leads to biochemical changes in the brain, forming a pathological addiction.

Shopping addiction and workaholism: when work or shopping becomes a compulsive need

Another group of behavioural addictions is related to an excessive fascination with consumerism and work. Shopaholism, i.e. an irresistible urge to make spontaneous, unnecessary purchases, has attracted more and more attention from specialists in recent years. This form of addiction is closely related to anxiety and obsessive and impulsive disorders.

An equally complex problem is workaholism – the compulsive need to constantly work excessively. Workaholics feel uncomfortable if they have to be distracted from work and often ignore other areas of life for the sake of their professional life. The question of whether workaholism is an independent disease or merely increased work motivation remains debatable.

Most researchers agree that excessive preoccupation with work, shopping or other types of activity, displacing all other human interests, is pathological in nature and requires timely correction. Otherwise, such conditions can cause serious harm to mental and physical health.

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