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Dr. Cassidy Blair, Psy.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist | PSY 22022

Dr. Cassidy Blair, Psy.D.

Behavioral Addictions

When a person hears the term “addiction,” they often associate it with something physical, such as drugs or alcohol. However, many behaviors can elicit the same brain response that causes someone to continuously engage in something despite the negative consequences that may arise.

An individual with a behavioral addiction will become focused on repeatedly engaging in a particular behavior that, when controlled, should not cause harm. However, a person with a behavioral addiction may find themselves avoiding responsibilities, missing work, and avoiding friends and family to feed their craving for the addiction of choice. 

Addiction of any kind is difficult to control on your own, which is why it’s important to get help from behavioral addiction therapy from an experienced licensed clinical psychologist. If you or someone you know is struggling to gain freedom from a behavior that is affecting your health and happiness, contact Blair Wellness Group. Whether you’re looking for an experienced addiction therapist in West Hollywood to help you overcome a gambling addiction, sex addiction, or another form of compulsive behavior, Dr. Blair has the expertise and knowledge to successfully treat a variety of addictions.    

Physical Versus Behavioral Addictions

It is often difficult to understand how someone could become addicted to doing something instead of ingesting something that has physical substance. To those looking at it from the outside, it may seem like a lack of willpower — something that could be changed using your own free will. Unfortunately, addictions of all types (including behavioral addictions) are much more complicated than that.

Someone with an addiction, whether it be physical or behavioral, has a brain affliction that makes them want to engage in short-term rewards over and over again despite negative consequences. That means the brain will react to behaviors much in the same way that it does to drugs or alcohol. Just because the perceived “reward” is the feeling you get when you engage in gambling, gaming, sex, or social media, that doesn’t mean it is any less real. Similar to drug and alcohol addictions, people with behavioral addictions can still experience negative symptoms of withdrawal such as irritability, trouble sleeping, personality changes, and more.     

Types of Addictive Behavior

Addiction is a psychological disorder that involves the activation of certain brain neurotransmitters when someone compulsively engages in a particular substance or behavior. In other words, repeatedly seeking out and partaking in something that makes you feel good, even if only for a short time, despite any negative consequences. According to this definition, just about anything could become an addictive behavior. The following is a list of some of the most common. 


Gambling is another good example of something that can be a fun and exciting form of entertainment if you engage in it responsibly. For those with a gambling addiction, however, it can develop into an unavoidable urge to keep risking money despite devastating financial losses. To make matters worse, people who have a gambling addiction are also more likely to engage in another form of physical addiction such as drugs or alcohol.  


There are many people today who invest a significant amount of time, money, and energy into playing video games. That’s not to say that everyone who decides to stay up all night on the weekend immersed in their favorite electronic game is addicted, but the prevalence of video game addiction has increased significantly over the last decade.  


Sex is a normal and healthy part of being human. But, as with other addictions, when it preoccupies your thoughts or leads you to engage in dangerous or risky behaviors, you may have a sex addiction. Sex addiction is more than just loving the act of sex, rather, it is a psychological condition in which someone struggles to manage compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. This can have a detrimental effect on their work-life, personal life, and relationships. 

Social Media

Social media addiction is a 21st-century phenomenon that was non-existent just a decade ago. With more and more people taking to social media as the primary way to communicate with and gain social acceptance from others, it’s easy to see how social media addiction has become one of the fastest-growing addictions.   


Although you could argue that food addiction involves a physical substance like drugs or alcohol, it’s the engagement in a particular behavior that is at the heart of food addiction. Whether you use food to cope with stress, to feel more in control, or you have an unhealthy relationship with food for no apparent reason, an addiction therapist can help you understand and overcome your emotional connection with food. 

Other Forms of Behavioral Addiction

In addition to those described above, there is nearly an endless number of other forms of behavioral addiction including those that involve shopping, exercise, work, pornography, and spending time on the internet.

Signs of Behavioral Addiction

Sometimes it can be difficult to discern between an intense enthusiasm or passion for a particular activity and a true addiction. Those who are vulnerable to addiction may appear to be obsessed with talking about it, thinking about it, and finding ways to engage in it more often. If you suspect that someone has a behavioral disorder, consider whether or not you recognize some of these symptoms:

  • Preoccupation with the behavior
  • Repeated unsuccessful attempts to control, reduce, or abstain from the behavior
  • Neglecting responsibilities to engage in the behavior
  • Attempting to hide or lie about the extent of the problem
  • Irritability or depression when not able to engage in the behavior
  • Neglecting work, school, or family to engage in the behavior

Get Help From an Addiction Therapist

If you have been fighting to gain control over an addiction, know that the best thing you can do is to get behavioral addiction therapy. Many people try to overcome their addictions on their own, but due to the complex nature of this medical condition, often have trouble finding lasting success. 

At Blair Wellness Group, we offer customized treatment programs that are tailored to meet the specific needs and goals of each of our patients. Through a unique combination of psychotherapy, and other holistic treatments such as meditation and mindfulness practice, clients can better understand their addiction and work toward creating a healthy lifestyle, free from addictive behavior. 

If you’re looking for behavioral addiction therapy in the Los Angeles area, contact Blair Wellness Group to schedule an appointment.

Addiction of any kind is difficult to control on your own, which is why it’s important to get help from a licensed clinical psychologist who is experienced in behavioral addictions. Whether you’re looking for an experienced addiction therapist in Los Angeles to help you overcome a gambling addiction, sex addiction, or another form of compulsive behavior, Dr. Blair has the expertise and knowledge to successfully treat a variety of addictions. 

Other Service

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  • Bulimia Nervosa
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Discover effective solutions for addiction at Blair Wellness Group today. Call us at 310.999.4996 to schedule an appointment. We welcome patients from Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, and close-by areas. We offer evening and weekend appointments for our concierge patients and all patients upon request.


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