A process addiction refers to compulsive behavior, such as compulsive gambling, sexual addiction, eating disorders and spending addictions. It is a condition in which a person is dependent on some type of behavior such as gambling, shopping or sexual activity. This term is often used as a blanket for any behavioral addiction which does not involve an addictive chemical.
Information Nation Blog: Welcome, Ms. Fried. Thank you for taking our call.
Berni Fried: It’s an important topic to discuss and explain to your audience, in my opinion and I appreciate the opportunity.
Information Nation Blog: We understand many of your clients have struggled with many other addictions besides just drugs and alcohol.
Berni Fried: That’s true.
Information Nation Blog: Is it accurate that often when a person is able to be sober from drugs or alcohol that often other compulsive behaviors arise?
Berni Fried: Yes. If we think of addiction as a maladaptive coping skill and a way to help numb or block anxiety, depression or intrusive thoughts or feelings, it is important to recognize that once the addict is sober, there is still the continued depression and anxiety that was underlying the drug or alcohol abuse to begin with. Often the obsession to “act out” in other ways to help numb the feelings is a part of what addicts must deal with in a life of sobriety. This is where the idea of process addictions come in, that once the drugs and alcohol have been arrested, often a food obsession or gambling obsession can arise.
Information Nation Blog: Are “process addictions” widely known about? And if so, how are they treated?
Berni Fried: Process addictions are an often overlooked addiction. They are often overshadowed by substance addictions. This is unfortunate as the suffering, loss of life and family and debilitating consequences are no less. Process addictions require psychological treatment to be overcome.
Information Nation Blog: Why are these serious Addictions often overlooked?
Berni Fried: This lies in a combination of guilt, shame, and a lack of understanding. It is somewhat easy to comprehend the chemical addiction of a person who struggles with substance abuse. In the case of process addictions the strong psychological compulsions of the process addict are often ignored. It is not as simple as “just stopping”.
Information Nation Blog: How does it make such an impact in the lives of tobacco users?
Berni Fried: In cigarettes and other tobacco products, menthol offers users a smooth, fresh sensation that combats the harshness and numbing qualities of tobacco.
Information Nation Blog: That’s interesting…
Berni Fried: Menthol makes it easier for smokers to start the habit and much harder for them to quit.
Information Nation Blog: How many types of cigarettes include menthol?
Berni Fried: Approximately 25 percent of all cigarettes in the United States.
Information Nation Blog: What types of legislation cover the use of menthol in tobacco products?
Berni Fried: The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act made waves in 2009 when they banned all flavored cigarettes—except, of course, for menthol.
Information Nation Blog: Have there been efforts to ban menthol altogether?
Berni Fried: A number of consumer groups and organizations have asked the FDA to ban menthol in the production of cigarettes and tobacco products.
Information Nation Blog: I can see how that could make quite a difference…
Berni Fried: Banning menthol would benefit the health and wellness of Americans and potentially save lives, no doubt about it.
Information Nation Blog: What’s the latest update from the Food and Drug Administration?
Berni Fried: The FDA has claimed that its leaders are accumulating all the necessary data and information prior to making a decision.
Information Nation Blog: How do you see this applying to your practice and to your clients as they struggle with addiction?
Berni Fried: A reliance on tobacco products can wreak havoc on a client’s recovery.
Information Nation Blog: Explain…
Berni Fried: Placing the focus on this terrible habit takes away from an individual’s treatment efforts. Unfortunately, smoking often goes hand in hand with alcohol or drug abuse.
Information Nation Blog: Thank you for all of this information.
Berni Fried: Take care!
Berni Fried continues to see clients of all ages and backgrounds from her L.A. private practice. By networking with a number of leading medical professionals, clinicians and psychologists, she remains at the forefront of her field.