All counselors, regardless of setting, will work with clients affected by addiction. There is no longer a question as to whether or not individuals can become addicted to behaviors. That question has been unequivocally answered through decades of empirical data and scholarship, evidence from clinical work and successful treatment approaches, and changes in diagnostic manuals, global classifications of diseases, and definitions of addiction. Now, the pressing question is how to best prepare counselors and other mental health professionals to effectively serve individuals with behavioral addictions. Researchers, clinicians, and neuroscientists are making great strides in understanding behavioral addictions and collecting evidence regarding effective interventions, assessments, and treatment strategies. This chapter provides an information related to the nature of addictive behaviors, helpful strategies for recognizing and identifying behavioral addictions, and a public health model to guide conceptualizations of behavioral addictions.
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A Clinical Guide to Treating Behavioral Addictions:Conceptualizations, Assessments, and Clinical Strategies
The growing prevalence of behavioral addictions makes it clear that the majority of counselors (if not all) will work with clients with addictive behaviors. This book is the culmination of 18 months of investigation into the most current information related to behavioral addictions. In each chapter, the author answers what she thought would be the most meaningful questions for clinical practice: How do I conceptualize it?, How do I identify it?, How do I assess it?, How do I treat it?, and How do I learn more? The books covers eleven behavioral addictions, including: internet gaming addiction, social media addiction, sex addiction, pornography and cybersex addiction, love addiction, gambling addiction, nonsuicidal self-injury, food addiction, exercise addiction, work addiction, and shopping addiction. Although not exhaustive, this list includes many of the most widely accepted behavioral addictions and those that the majority of counselors will encounter in their clinical practice. Along with describing each behavioral addiction in detail, the book also addresses important issues related to the addictive behaviors, such as distinguishing between gaming enthusiasts and those with internet gaming addiction, the association between social media addiction and cyberbullying, ethical considerations when clients disclose viewing illegal pornography, considerations related to adolescent sexting, the relationship between love addiction and codependence, the difference between sex addiction and sexual offending, the effects of legalized sports betting on gambling rates, distinguishing between nonsuicidal self-injury and a suicide attempt, the relationship between shopping addiction and hoarding disorder, the potential impact of neuromarketing, cultural considerations of work and study addiction, and conceptualizing exercise addiction with and without an eating disorder. Additionally, each chapter has a section devoted to the current state of neuroscience related to the behavioral addiction.
This chapter addresses the following questions: Movies, books, songs, fables, and poetry have described love as an addiction for centuries, yet can an individual truly be addicted to love? If so, what does the condition entail, how can counselors recognize it, and what treatment or interventions would be appropriate? Specifically, those with love addiction can have an unhealthy obsession with a particular person, the experience of being in a romantic relationship, or the euphoric feelings accompanying the beginning stages of falling in love. Treatment for love addiction may entail addressing past traumas or dysfunctional attachments as well as helping clients better define themselves and set healthy boundaries. The chapter describes signs and symptoms of love addiction as its related constructs such as codependence and limerence. It helps readers learn about the neuroscience and potential negative consequences of love addiction, assessment instruments, treatment strategies, 12-step support group options, and diagnostic considerations.
Advocacy is a foundational component of counseling, as clinicians work to remove oppressive barriers to clients’ wellness. As advocates, counselors work with, and on behalf of, clients to dismantle obstacles to their progress. In light of the stigma and discrimination faced by clients with behavioral addictions, great need exists for meaningful advocacy efforts to support members of this population. Advocacy efforts for those with behavioral addictions can take many forms and occur at individual, community, or societal levels. This chapter examines opportunities for clinicians to advocate at the individual, community, and public level to enhance positive outcomes for clients with behavioral addictions. From empowering clients to embrace a biopsychosocial model of addiction and raising awareness regarding the neuroscience of behavioral addictions, to ensuring the availability of local treatment options and influencing public policy, counselors are in prime positions to advocate for clients who engage in addictive behaviors.
Internet games can be educational, stimulate creativity, and offer both communal and solitary entertainment. For a small portion of the population, however, internet gaming can become compulsive as the gamer experiences a loss of control over her or his gaming, continues gaming despite negative consequences, and craves gaming or is mentally preoccupied with gaming when it is unavailable. It is important for counselors to recognize the signs and symptoms of internet gaming addiction to correctly differentiate between social gamers, gaming enthusiasts, professional gamers, and those with a behavioral addiction. This chapter outlines the characteristics of internet gaming addiction, provides examples of useful assessment instruments, and discusses treatment considerations for work with clients with internet gaming addiction. It provides information related to internet addiction, various types of online games, the nature of eSports, neuroscience related to internet gaming addiction, negative consequences associated with addiction, 12-step support group options, and diagnostic considerations.