What is a Process Addiction

What is a Process Addiction?

We’re all familiar with substance addiction, but what is a process addiction? While substance abuse gets a lot of attention, it isn’t the only type of addiction out there. Behavioral or process addictions can mess with people’s lives just as much as substance addiction.

A process addiction is a compulsion to engage in a specific activity, no matter how it affects your ability to stay healthy and functional. You might feel a high from engaging in your addiction and then feel guilty later.

But no matter how much you might try to stop, you can’t.

Addictions are almost impossible to overcome alone. Here are some different examples of process addictions and how they might show up in your life.



Unlike sex addiction, love addiction comprises behavior that involves excessive interest for a partner, or partners, that ends up in lack of control. In other words, your desire for love negatively impacts every part of your life. 

Love addiction is not the same as personality or mood disorders. Diagnosing this condition is difficult because there’s no consensus as to the specific criteria for it. Some experts believe it’s an obsessive disorder, while others think it’s mood-related.



Sex addiction is a compulsion to have sex or perform sexual acts to feel satisfied. Also called nymphomania, sex addicts may alter their lives to engage in sexual intercourse and other actions several times a day. 

Common signs of sex addiction include:

  • Obsessive sexual fantasies
  • Lying to hide behavior
  • Preoccupation with having sex, to the point of it interfering with daily life
  • Inability to prevent the behaviors
  • Placing self and others in danger with behavior
  • Feeling guilty after having sex


Many people with sex addiction go undiagnosed and, therefore, don’t get the help they need.



Porn addiction is classified as being unable to step away from watching porn, even when you have other things in your life that need your attention. It is also one of the more well-known process addictions.

Typically, those with a porn addiction feel a loss of control over their watching habits. Some believe it’s a compulsion instead of an addiction. 


Binge Eating Disorder

Many eating disorders also fall into the category of process disorder. 

In particular, binge eating disorder is when someone eats large amounts of food quickly and then feels guilty later. Some binge eaters will purge afterward, while others won’t. 

Binge eating episodes typically come with at least three of the following qualities:

  • Eating faster than normal
  • Eating beyond feeling full
  • Consuming a lot of food without feeling hungry
  • Eating alone to avoid judgment or feeling embarrassed by how much food they consume
  • Feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty after eating
  • Feeling out of control over your eating habits
  • Dieting frequently
  • Obsessing over body weight and shape
  • Eating in a disruptive way
  • Having feelings of low self-esteem


Treatment for binge eating disorder is most effective when you’re working with a recovery team that understands your condition’s unique needs and has experience restoring clients to wellness.  


How to Overcome a Process Addiction  

The first thing you need to know about process addictions is that you should never overcome them alone. 

The Ranch’s personalized sexual recovery center and addiction treatment programs can help you overcome these process addictions. Reach out to our admissions today at (888) 503-1801 to see how we can help you get your life back.

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