Behavioral Addiction versus Substance Addiction: Correspondence of Psychiatric and Psychological Views

Int J Prev Med. 2012 Apr;3(4):290-4.


Introduction: Behavioral science experts believe that all entities capable of stimulating a person can be addictive; and whenever a habit changes into an obligation, it can be considered as an addiction. Researchers also believe that there are a number of similarities as well as some differences between drug addiction and behavioral addiction diagnostic symptoms. The purpose of this study is to consider different approaches in this field.

Methods: This is a descriptive research using content analysis method. First, differences and similarities of various perspectives on addiction and addiction behavior in different substances were obtained, thereafter, the data was coded and categorized, subjects were discussed and major issues were extracted.

Results: Behavioral addiction such as internet addiction is similar to drug addiction except that in the former, the individual is not addicted to a substance but the behavior or the feeling brought about by the relevant action. In addition, the physical signs of drug addiction, are absent in behavioral addiction. Others have stated that behaviorally addicted individuals have certain symptoms and will undergo the same consequences brought about by addiction to alcohol and drugs as well as other obsessive behaviors.

Conclusion: Similar to substance abuse prevention, programs aimed at addicted individuals and specialized training can educate adolescents about the warning signs of online addiction, in order to assist the early detection of this disorder. For prevention of behavioral addiction (such as internet addiction) authorities, cultural institutions and parents should monitor the use of internet and teach to the adolescent and children, the useful and appropriate methods of internet use.

Keywords: Addiction; addictive behavior; prevention.