Behavioral Dependence

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What is Behavioral Dependence?

Reflections – Addiction Dependence Treatment

Behavioral addiction is a form of addiction that involves a compulsion to engage in a rewarding non-drug-related behavior – sometimes called a natural reward – despite any negative consequences to the person’s physical, mental, social or financial well-being. A gene transcription factor known as ΔFosB has been identified as being the critical progenitor of behavioral and drug addictions, which are associated with the same set of neural adaptations in the reward system.


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Behavioral addiction is a treatable condition. Treatment options include psychotherapy and psychopharmacology (medications) or a combination of both. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most common psychotherapeutic modality used with behavioral addiction clients; it focuses on identifying patterns of abuse and making lifestyle changes to healthier behaviors. Currently, there are no medications approved for treatment of behavioral addiction but some medications used for treatment of drug addiction may also be beneficial with behavioral addictions.