Dealing with Compulsive Behaviors

Plenty of people suffer from one form of compulsive behavior or another. There's compulsive shopping, hoarding, eating, gambling, or even pulling one's hair out. And, of course, there is garden variety obsessive compulsiveness. When a person has a compulsion, he is trapped in a pattern of repetitive and senseless thinking—and these behaviors can prove quite difficult to overcome.

Recent Posts on Compulsive Behaviors

Overcoming Garden Variety Moodiness

If you tend to moodiness and would like an approach that is "psychology" or "psychiatry light," give this a try.

Cross Addiction and What It Means

One of the problems that I see frequently is patients with cross addiction, specifically those who are also being given “legitimate” prescription medications such as stimulants, benzodiazepines, opiates for bona fide symptoms.

Addicted to Our Screens, or Merely Obsessed?

Digital Distractions and addiction to mediated images are imbecilizing America’s youth. The energy cost to our still Stone–Age brains explains how and why. Scientists debate whether we are addicted to our devices. What no one disputes is that our attention spans have gone to hell.

How Forgiveness Therapy Helps Emotional Eating

By Karen Salmansohn on June 09, 2015 in Bouncing Back
If you want a successful Weight Loss Plan, start with a "Hate Loss Plan."

End Of Term Report

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on May 28, 2015 in In Excess
Many people confuse the term ‘problem gambling’ with ‘gambling addiction’. These two terms are not inter-changeable. When I give lectures on gambling addiction I always point out that “all gambling addicts are problem gamblers but not all problem gamblers are gambling addicts”. Find out why in my latest article on gambling psychology.

GRAFTS: Variations on Our Irrelationship Song-and-Dance

Our specific song-and-dance routines—ways that we reverse caretaking role with our key caregiver(s)—become the basic blueprint the pattern of interaction we will develop to care for our key caregiver. These patterns can be called GRAFTS and the acronym describes—in a very basic broad stroke—some of the habits that can become part of our caregiving conditioning.

Detoxing after Detox: The Perils of Post-Acute Withdrawal

Detoxification is only the first of a two phase process of withdrawal from alcohol and other drugs. A common misconception is that soon after the offending substances are out of the body, life will get noticeably better and “normal” functioning will return. If only that were true.

Am I Crazy or What?

By Teri Woods Ph.D. on May 17, 2015 in Compulsive!
What would a trained therapist say about me if they knew those silly little things I do to keep my day humming along?

Happy Mother-Someone's Day

As there are "good enough mothers,” there are also good enough "mother-someones" who do not give up when things go terribly awry, but are able to use the failures and derailments as opportunities to work together to right the wrongs, get the relationships back on the rails together—to repair interactively.

Addiction: A Systems Perspective

By Dan Mager MSW on April 21, 2015 in Some Assembly Required
The dynamics of systems theory and neuroplasticity can provide valuable windows through which we can better understand the respective processes that contribute to addiction and recovery.

Hoarders and Collectors

By Elias Aboujaoude M.D. on April 16, 2015 in Compulsive Acts
A hoarding diagnosis should have nothing to do with a person’s net worth or a clinician’s take on what is worth collecting and what does not deserve getting attached to.

How to Apply Spring Cleaning to Your Body, Mind and Soul

By Gregg McBride on March 28, 2015 in The Weight-ing Game
What are you sitting on, keeping in your home or potentially hoarding on your shelves that might be holding you back mentally? Anything you need to get rid of? Any de-cluttering you need encouragement on? You might be surprised to learn that your mind is in need of spring cleaning even more than your living space is.

Making Saves

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on March 17, 2015 in In Excess
Extreme couponing is an activity that combines shopping skills with couponing in an attempt to save as much money as possible while accumulating the most groceries. Extreme couponers spend hours and hours on the internet or scouring scouring rubbish tips or supermarket car parks looking for coupons. But can it be addictive?

When Compassion is the Best Medicine

What a brain disease strikes, friends and family need support for the patient and themselves.

Make Choices Today That Will Help You Thrive Tomorrow

If you always give in to what feels best in the moment, it will be hard to ever have the life you really want.

The Surprising Future Appeal of Everyday Experiences

By Juliana Breines Ph.D. on February 26, 2015 in In Love and War
Typically it’s the big milestones that we document most diligently—the weddings, births, graduations, professional achievements. These are the events we expect we’ll most want to revisit down the road. But research suggests that revisiting ordinary, everyday experiences can bring us a lot more pleasure than we realize.

How to Tidy Your Home Mindfully

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on February 26, 2015 in Urban Survival
Could the cluttered state of your home be holding you back? Marie Kondo's method of decluttering is about more than tidying the home—surrounding yourself with things that bring you joy can help you achieve a greater clarity and awareness of the mind, too.

The Joy of Stuff

Stuff can tell our story and make us comfortable.

Together/Apart in Irrelationship

When acting as Performer or Audience, the long-term need to be in healthy supportive relationships is sacrificed to the immediate imperative of smothering our deep-seated discomfort, thus putting us radically out of balance with others and ourselves. We can live like this for awhile. But at some point, the debt will come due, and must be paid back—with interest.

Anxious Parents Helped by “World’s Worst Mom”

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on February 08, 2015 in Moral Landscapes
Lenore Skenazy was called a bad mother when she let her 9-year old son ride the NY subway alone. Now she hosts a TV show to help parents become more like her.

Childhood Trauma and Masturbation

Often when a child undergoes abuse or trauma there are not sufficient outlets for all the rage, despair and grief that results from the betrayal. Masturbation is one of the most accessible and available forms of numbing out, because you rely only on your own body to produce the intoxicating chemicals that soothe the pain.

Men Of Steal

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on January 30, 2015 in In Excess
In previous articles I have examined activities like shopping as an addiction. One similar such behavior is shoplifting. This article briefly looks at a new typology of shoplifting and argues that in some cases, shoplifting may even be an addiction.

The Joyless Addiction

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on January 28, 2015 in Science of Choice
Addicts often express that they continue to use drugs even when they no longer derive any pleasure.

Personalized Genomics, Data-Hoarding, and Drug Companies

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on January 14, 2015 in Side Effects
Genetic-testing kits have been hailed for advancing medical research and disease prevention. But who owns the data and what are the risks of them being sold or misused?

How Healthy Food Could Make You Fat

By Peter A. Ubel on January 08, 2015 in Critical Decisions
Say goodbye to the idea that what people weigh is solely a function of their deliberate choices!

Compulsive Buying

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on December 05, 2014 in A Sideways View
The causes, manifestations and cures for compulsive shopping and spending are now better understood. This disorder seems more common than ever before in rich, materialist societies which seem to promote it. Why do some people develop this compulsion and what can we do about it?

Do You Have a Problem?

By Kathryn Stamoulis Ph.D. on November 24, 2014 in The New Teen Age
If you are wondering if there is a problem in your life you need to address, start by asking yourself these two simple questions.

Addiction as a Disease of Isolation

By Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. on November 18, 2014 in Science of Choice
The anxiously attached person chooses the chemical shortcut to avoid pain and frustration, and becomes trapped there.

Self-Mutilation, Eating Disorders, and Suicide

Using attachment theory to explain how addictive connections to pain and suffering develop, I discuss various kinds and functions of self-harm behavior. From eating disorders to self- mutilation and body modifications such as tattooing, I explore the language of self-harm, and the translation of that language and its psychological functions.

Is Pornography (Sexual) Addiction Real?

By Kevin B Skinner Ph.D. on November 03, 2014 in Inside Porn Addiction
Is pornography addictive? While there is much controversy surrounding this topic, there are hundreds of thousands of individuals and their families who are seeking help to deal with compulsive sexual behaviors. What are they telling us about pornography?