Obsessive Love is a Process Addiction
By Jim Hall, MS, Love Addiction Recovery Specialist
Most people typically associate addiction with alcohol or drug abuse, but it's clear that addictive behaviors go far beyond.
A universal definition of addiction is characterized by the repeated, compulsive seeking or use of a substance, behavior, or activity despite negative consequences (harmful consequences to the individual's health, mental state or social life) (NAPS)- and often accompanied by physical or psychological dependence, withdrawal syndrome, and tolerance.
In theory, addiction can be derived from any rewarding behavior and is believed to be strongly associated with the brains reward center. although with continued use the goal is not so much to induce pleasure as it is to relieve the anxiety caused by the absence of the addiction, causing it to become used compulsively.
It may enable a person to feel "okay" about some insurmountable problems. It provides an artificial, temporary feeling of security or calm, of self-worth or purpose or accomplishment, of power and control, or intimacy or belonging.
Two Types of Addiction: Process (behavioral) Addiction and Substance Addiction
Most of us are aware of the ingested addictions like alcohol, drugs, food, etc.---but many are less clear on this other aspect of addiction called the Process addiction.
A "Process" addiction is an addiction to a way of living, a behavioral addiction affecting cognition and emotions.
Process addictions are an addiction to self-defeating behaviors.
Too often love addicts stay stuck in deep denial and minimize negative consequences that are happening.
Shame and guilt increase, as the lifestyle becomes inconsistent with personal values, beliefs, and spirituality.
The truth is the longer love addiction is denied, the more serious the consequences become.