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

The Psychology Of Live Online Casino Gambling

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on July 28, 2015 in In Excess
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 way.......it 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 in 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 in 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.

Backing Away From Lovers' Leap

The heartfelt sense that we've met some long lost part of ourselves in that new friend with whom we so readily, easily, and fluidly fell into what seemed like the rare moment of intimacy within which we can share our "darkest" and "deepest" is irrelationship all dressed up to look, once again, like the cure to our disconnected state.

The Difference Between Rationalization and Rationality

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on July 13, 2015 in Ambigamy
Thinking fast; thinking slow is a hot topic these days, but it may be two topics confused with each other.

Players and Planners

By Michael F. Kay on July 09, 2015 in Financial Life Focus
Players get a rush from the action—making bets, taking chances, expecting the big score. You find them at the track, in the casinos and playing the stock market.

2 Words That Could Mean You Have a Drug Problem

What you say to yourself and to others about your drug or alcohol use is trying to tell you something. Listen.

Friendship as a Moving Target

By keeping our need and desire for closeness with others diffuse, migratory and superficial we are able to play out irrelationship dynamics in larger social circles. We suspend—at least postpone indefinitely—our awareness of how we have secured ourselves from being realistically disappointed by people in our current lives.

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?

3 Major Warning Signs of Relationship Trouble

Most of us want to meet and settle down with the “right” person, and most of us want such a relationship to last. Yet, 53% of marriages in the U.S., 48% in Canada, 47% in the U.K., and 43% in Australia end in divorce. What are some of the major warning signs of a relationship in trouble? Here are three key indicators based on research...

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.