Dealing with Compulsive Behaviors

Plenty of people suffer from one form of compulsive behavior or another. There's compulsive shopping, hoarding, eating and gambling. 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

Senile Squalor and Hoarding

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on October 08, 2015 In Excess
Diogenes Syndrome (DS) that is sometimes referred to as ‘senile squalor syndrome’ (as it typically occurs in elderly individuals). Hoarding is often a consequence of having DS, and those with DS often live on their own in severe domestic squalor and unsanitary conditions. But what else is known about this rare syndrome?

13 Easy Ways to Jumpstart Your Boring Life

By Donna Barstow on October 01, 2015 Ink Blots Cartoons
Routines can be comforting, but when every day looks the same, that can be a danger signal.

What Makes Someone a Master Manipulator?

Among those afflicted with certain personality disorders, there are many who are master manipulators. Do personality disorders cause people to develop into master manipulators? The connection may not be as you expect.

Protected Against Presence

Presence can be an idealized—but powerfully defended against—missing ingredient in relationships that work as co-created psychological defense systems, called irrelationships. Presence, the very thing we say and think we want can be a terrorizing force threatening to erupt as love, care and compassion—the very things that irrelationship is built to protect us against.

Clutter vs. Hoarding vs. Collecting

By Barry Yourgrau on September 24, 2015 Mess
"To hell with your problem, whaddya got for me there, baby?”

Is Your Drinking Putting You at Risk?

Research shows that identifying high-risk drinkers and spending some time explaining to them the dangers of alcohol use, their responsibility for change and available treatment options can reduce future trauma visits by almost half. Blood alcohol tests rope in some who don’t need the help and misses others who do. More effective — 20% more effective, according to a new stu

Is Addiction a Habit or a Choice?

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on September 22, 2015 All About Addiction
It's an age-old debate: Are addicts failing to exercise control or have they fallen victim to a disease that has taken over their brain and rendered them powerless? The answer is neither and both, so pay close attention...

Treating Tourette's, OCD, and Selective Mutism in Children

Children with Tourette's Syndrome, OCD, or Selective Mutism can be challenging to treat. These specialized behavioral methods can provide treatment options for parents and therapists.

The Language of Conflict

Conflict is a normal part of any relationship. Sometimes, though, conflict may be a signal that people with a profound commitment to one another are missing each other even though they sleep in the same bed.

The Ego Diet

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 07, 2015 Ambigamy
Appetite for praise is a lot like appetite for fatty foods. Both are hazardous to your health and both can be curbed with the right effort.

Sexual Regret - The Psychology of Romantic Remorse

The authors of this new study on sexual regret predicted that, in line with evolutionary theory, women more than men, will regret poorly chosen sexual actions (doing something and later wishing they hadn't). Men more than women will bemoan poorly chosen sexual inactions (not doing something yet later wishing they had).

What is Brainlock?

Now you get it: You are trapped—by your own brain activity and chemistry, by developmental patterns from the past, by the way your patterns and your partner's patterns interlock with one another, and by social forces that are hard to see. Read about how this becomes "Brainlock" and cements you (in a plural sense) into a state of irrelationship.

The Runaway Train in Our Heads

By Kaja Perina on September 03, 2015 Brainstorm
Part of the nature of obsession is that you cannot easily obtain sufficient distance from it: The thoughts, worries, and compulsions feel utterly overwhelming.

Genitally Does It

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on September 02, 2015 In Excess
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a distressing, handicapping, and/or impairing preoccupation with an imagined or slight defect in body appearance. One particular body part that has been the focus of some research in the BDD field is that of genitalia. Many men obsessively worry about the size of their penis. But what does the psychological literature tell us?

Why Do You Gamble?

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on August 26, 2015 In Excess
All surveys of gambling have shown that there are a broad range motivational factors that are central to gambling, and that attitudes towards gambling are positively related to availability and cultural acceptability. But what does the psychological research say about why people gamble?

Objects and Memories...and the Pain of Letting Go

By Barry Yourgrau on August 24, 2015 Mess
The Pain of Letting Go

Why Male and Female Psychopaths Get More Sex

One theory is that male and female psychopaths end up hypersexual through different routes via contrasts in personality - it's the antisocial aspect in men, but instead the impulsive thrill seeking in women.

The House Drunk: Finding Our Way Out Together, Part 2

Following up on the previous entry, Ray and his mother learn skills for building a real relationship despite the complications that are part of addiction. And here we are, learning how to do the hard work of building better relationships, together, when addiction makes it even harder.

The Evolution Of Technological Addictions

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on August 20, 2015 In Excess
In October 2014, the world's press reported the story of a man being treated for internet addiction disorder brought on by his excessive use of Google Glass. But can someone really be addicted to a technological device?

Ten Tips For People Who Second-Guess Themselves

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on August 19, 2015 Ambigamy
"Why do I second guess myself so much?" Oops. There you go again.

The "House Drunk"—Irrelationship & Addiction, Part 1

Irrelationship is not alcoholism; but, it is similarly chronic, compulsive and progressive. Regarding families suffering from alcoholism and addiction, having one's role as a caretaker usurped by a foreign and anonymous source—even when treatment has been strongly encouraged or even demanded—is often an unexpectedly conflicted, confusing and complicated experience.

Why Are the Candy Crushes of the World Dominating Our Lives?

What happens when an organic form of existence, after evolving for millions of years, meets the last word in planned and designed addictiveness? Darwin goes searching for the gas pedal in this evolutionary phenomenon of his.

The Cognitive Psychology of Gambling

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on August 06, 2015 In Excess
One of the proudest moments of my academic career was when my 1994 study on the role of cognitive bias in slot machine gambling was introduced as a compulsory study that all psychology college students had to learn about here in the UK. Today's blog looks at that study in retrospective context.

Is Human Connection the Antidote for Addiction?

In the 1970's Bruce Alexander ran an experiment to question the universality of the “drug-induced addiction.” He built a "rat park" where test subjects (rats) were offered enrichment rather than (the usual) deprivation. He found that when given a choice to bond with others, most test subjects do. Human parallels are drawn, comparisons with irrelationship are offered.

The Psychology Of Live Online Casino Gambling

One of the main reasons I don’t like gambling at Internet casinos is that I believe the majority of game outcome are likely to be pre-programmed and/or predetermined. To me, this is somewhat akin to playing with imaginary dice! But what do we know psychologically about what factors promote and inhibit gambling online?

Seeing the Person Within the Persona

Irrelationship is about a lot of things: a co-created and shared defense, compulsive caregiving, Performing and Audiencing, suffering and feeling trapped and helpless. It is also about hiding out in a routine, a song-and-dance routine. That routine is like a mask that protects the self from observation—it is a persona-in-action (an enacted disguise).

Cheating Yourself? I Hear the Advice, I Do What I Want

Real behaviour change is not about willpower, or stages of change, but about satisfying wants and dealing with needs along the is about coherence at all levels of the person......

3 Ineffective Ways I Tried to Manage and Enjoy My Drug Use

By Anna David on July 22, 2015 After Party Chat
When you’re enjoying something, you’re not trying to manage it and when you’re trying to manage it, you’re no longer enjoying it. But I didn't know that so I tried a trifecta of ridiculous ways to keep my cocaine use under control.

The Meaning of the APA's Dealing With the Torture Scandal

After years of deception, and opposing strong and clear dissent from within its very ranks, the APA finds itself in a particularly awkward position. What does a professional organization which has lost its moral compass do when the news breaks? What does its reaction to the current controversy tell us about the APA’s organizational character?

Gambling: Harmless Fun or Perilous Compulsion?

By E E Smith on July 19, 2015 Not Born Yesterday
Omar Sharif, who died recently, was known for his roles in great movies like "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago." Many people also knew that he was a world-class bridge player but I, for one, was surprised to learn that he had lost several fortunes over the years while gambling on the game.