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

Happy Holidays—Or Else!

Being haunted by the idea that other people are “better” at holiday celebrations than we are can drive us to “fix” our own family’s time together. But this preoccupation with “getting it right” can become an emotional wedge between ourselves and those we’re trying to please.

Why We’re Addicted to Our Smartphones, But Not Our Tablets

As mobile technology has become integrated into nearly every aspect of our lives, our smartphones are shifting from device to dependency.

The Trigger That Pulls the Finger

Guns aren’t simply a ready instrument of violence, but can incite it as well.

Gambling Advertising And Marketing

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on November 19, 2015 In Excess
Over the last few years there has been a great deal of speculation over the role of advertising as a possible stimulus to increased gambling, and as a contributor to problem gambling (including underage gambling). But can gambling advertising and marketing be done in a more socially responsible way?

Change, the Not So New Norm

We talk about change all the time. Yet, in spite of the frequency with which it occurs, we are not skilled at managing it. Here are some tips to guide you through the process.

Dis(mis)sing Mental Illness

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on November 15, 2015 Shadow Boxing
A lethal spree, fueled by mental illness, remains a controversial case in the legal system.

Why Your Brain Wanted Coffee and Donuts This Morning

By Gary L. Wenk Ph. D. on November 14, 2015 Your Brain on Food
If coffee and donuts did not exist, our brains would force us to invent them.

My Visit to an Extreme Hoarder

By Barry Yourgrau on November 07, 2015 Mess
I was, at last, in hoarding Valhalla: ghastly, derelict, oppressive, aesthetically astounding, most piles and surfaces grayed with dust.,

10 Signs You’re Addicted to Online Shopping

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on November 04, 2015 Urban Survival
How do you know if your online shopping is becoming a problem? Here are 10 signs to watch out for.

Earth to Humans: Why Have You Forsaken Me? Limited Behavior

By Kenneth Worthy Ph.D. on November 01, 2015 The Green Mind
What are the psychological roadblocks that explain why we’re not doing much to solve global climate change—a phenomenon that threatens the core of our society? This is the seventh and final post in a seven-part series.

Emerging From the Veil of Addiction

When self-medication winds its way into compulsive dependence, we disappear behind a veil that leaves us in a sort of social and emotional suspended animation and, when we reemerge, we find we are right where we started.

Compulsive Scaregiving

Without a sense of security built on shared investment in empathy, intimacy and vulnerability, early company successes and wishful thinking can lull us into a false sense of security. Sometimes, someone is unconsciously relegated to “scare” us out of our sleep and into the serious work of mutually building actual security into the foundation of the organization.

Born to Lose

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on October 28, 2015 Minority Report
Asian-American gambling is a very taboo subject yet Bill Lee courageously shares his life of addiction, relapse, and recovery with readers in this memoir. Not only will it give readers an understanding of gambling addiction, but other addictions as well since many addicts can learn to mask their behaviors by switching addictions. I found this memoir heart-wrenching yet..

Taking Meds Doesn't Have to Sap Motivation

By Temma Ehrenfeld on October 23, 2015 Open Gently
Taking pills doesn't have to sap your motivation to change. In some cases, it may help.

8 Ways Real Listening Will Help Your Relationships

Effective communication built on the bedrock of effective listening is vital to the development of empathy in any relationship. Such listening is the primary tool for: a. Disarming the anxiety driving irrelationship; and, b. Opening the way for intimacy. Here we present a list of some of the most powerful characteristics of listening to empower effective communication.

Binge Drinking

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on October 16, 2015 A Sideways View
Alcohol consumption and addiction is the result of many psychological and social factors. Why do some young people manage moderate and healthy alcohol consumption while others binge drink regularly endangering their own and others health?

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?”

The 10 Questions That Can Help Identify Problem Drinkers

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?