Customized Treatment and Recovery Plan for Behavioral Addictions

What Is Behavioral Addiction?

Behavioral or process addictions are when you engage in a behavior compulsively, despite the negative consequences. They involve diminished control over your actions, inhibitions, and decision-making processes and can devastate your life.

Behavioral addictions are rooted in how certain behaviors affect our brain’s reward systems. In theory, any behavior that offers some kind of reward or stimulation could become addictive.

If your loved one is struggling with a behavioral addiction, our interventions can stop their journey of harm and open the door to recovery.

Signs You Have a Behavioral Addiction

Many of the signs of behavioral addiction are similar to those of drug addiction. They affect your well-being and social and family life. Behavioral addictions are often even harder to notice and accept than substance abuse due to a lack of awareness about the conditions. However, recognizing a behavioral addiction is hugely important, paving the way for recovery and stopping you from falling further down a destructive path.

Some of the signs of behavioral addictions include:

  • Spending most of your time engaging in a behavior or planning to engage in it
  • Using a behavior as a coping mechanism for emotional distress
  • Being dependent on the behavior to feel normal
  • Continuing to engage in a behavior despite negative consequences for your physical or mental health
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop engaging in the behavior
  • Neglecting home and work responsibilities because of the behavior
  • Lying or hiding your behavior from family members, friends, and other loved ones
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Finding that your thoughts are preoccupied with the behavior

Common Behavioral Addictions

Research into behavioral addictions is relatively new, and many behavioral addictions still go unnoticed. Below are some of the most common behavioral addictions scientists have identified:

Internet Addiction

Internet addiction is when you spend large amounts of time compulsively using the internet, significantly affecting your daily life. Internet addiction can cause you to neglect your self-care and relationships with loved ones and affect your ability to work productively.

Sex Addiction

Sex addiction is when you engage in compulsive sexual behavior, despite any negative consequences for your everyday life. It's one of the most talked-about types of behavioral addiction.

Gambling Addiction

Gambling disorder, classified as a behavioral addiction in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), can have a destructive effect on a person's life, quickly leading to a financial crisis. Despite limits set by online betting sites designed to prevent individuals from engaging in compulsive gambling, gambling addiction is still widespread across the country.

Other types of process addiction include:

  • Exercise Addiction
  • Food Addiction
  • Porn Addiction
  • Shopping Addiction
  • Technology Addiction
  • Video Game Addiction
  • Work Addiction

How Do Behavioral Addictions Differ from Substance Addictions?

Both behavioral addictions and drug addictions share common interactions with the reward systems in our brains.

Our reward systems are a natural part of how our brains work, helping to reinforce important behaviors like eating or spending time with loved ones. When we engage in one of these beneficial behaviors, our brains release a small number of chemical messengers (such as dopamine), altering neuronal connectivity along the pathway and making it more likely that we’ll do the activity again.

Engaging in drug and alcohol abuse hijacks your reward systems by flooding your brain with chemicals in amounts that are much higher than normal. This leads to dramatic changes along the reward pathway that underpin strong cravings and compulsive drug-seeking behavior.
Behavioral addictions don’t involve an unnatural release of chemicals in the brain as with substance abuse. However, the frequent reward of activities like sex (and the corresponding release of dopamine) can still cause significant and lasting changes along the reward pathway that cause cravings and compulsive behaviors. These compulsions are strong enough to override decision-making processes, causing individuals to continue engaging in behavior even when it is harmful.

Behavioral addictions also don’t involve physical dependencies and withdrawal symptoms that often come hand-in-hand with drug addiction. Despite this, recovery from a process addiction isn’t easy, and effective long-term support is usually necessary to achieve lasting recovery.

How Can Interventions Help With Behavioral Addictions?

Behavioral addictions can be rooted in many different underlying issues. Each person’s story is different, and the roots of their condition are often complex and multi-causal. Effectively treating behavioral addictions involves identifying and addressing these root causes to encourage meaningful healing and promote lasting change. Our customized care plans address the multiple needs of each individual, from psychosocial and family dynamics to legal issues or history of trauma.

Our interventionists take a holistic approach to preparation. We take care to gain a comprehensive understanding of the individual, conducting a thorough family assessment to explore the full picture. This will be followed by an individualized, fully case-managed plan where we recommend the best course of action using our expert knowledge of treatment approaches, teams and centers. The aim of intervention is to implement this plan – in other words, to ensure that your loved one accepts the course of treatment being offered.

When Is It Time to Intervene and How?

When it comes to addictions, it’s never too soon to interrupt a loved one’s journey of harm. The earlier you can intervene, the easier recovery will be, and the sooner you can all reclaim a stable and healthy life.
Our team of interventionists is here to guide you through the intervention process. Our interventions emphasize love, compassion, and respect, rather than using shame or guilt. We aim to create a healing environment where families inspire their loved ones to accept help.
We also understand that interventions are a process rather than a single event, and we work closely with family members over an extended time because the healing of the family is as important as the recovery of the person of concern.

If you’re concerned about a loved one’s compulsive behaviors, get in touch with us today. Our expert team can answer any questions you may have and work with you to determine the next steps. All our communications are treated with sensitivity and full confidentiality.

What Types of Programs and Therapies Are Used to Treat Behavioral Addictions?

At Feinberg, we use a variety of treatment approaches to treat behavioral addictions. Our treatment plans address the underlying causes of the addiction to promote lasting change.

Our treatment programs typically involve a combination of different approaches to address the multiple needs of each individual. They usually combine talk therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy with holistic mind-body approaches like meditation or yoga. We may also involve social interventions, life skills development, and legal support, depending on the need. Importantly, family interventions and interpersonal approaches also play a key role.

Some behavioral addiction therapies include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical-behavioral therapy
  • Psychosocial dynamics
  • Education and career coaching
  • Legal issue advice
  • Spiritual activities
  • Life skills coaching
  • History of trauma assessment
  • Nutrition and sleep education
  • Family therapy
  • Creative therapies such as music or art therapy
  • FAQ About Behavioral Addictions

What Are the Underlying Causes of Behavioral Addictions?  

The causes of behavioral addictions are different for each individual. However, they tend to be rooted in underlying issues such as co-occurring mental disorders, experiences of trauma, or lack of social support. Addressing these issues is key to effective recovery.

Are Addictive Behaviors Hereditary?

Some studies suggest that genetics may account for up to 50% of the risk of developing an addiction. However, many other factors also play a role, including early life adversity and social-economic conditions. Ultimately, addiction can affect anyone, regardless of your biology or story.

Is Behavioral Addiction a Real Disorder or Just a Lack of Willpower?

Behavioral addiction is a mental health disorder characterized by physical changes in the brain that make it very difficult to stop engaging in the behavior through willpower alone. If someone is living with addiction, it is neither their fault nor their choice. Everyone deserves effective care to help them recover and regain a sober life.

How Can a Family Help a Member With a Behavioral Issue?  

Having an open conversation with a family member is often a good way to show your concerns and talk about options for treatment. In some cases, you may want to think about staging a formal intervention. At Feinberg Consulting, we’re available to offer expert advice on how you can best support your loved one, whatever their situation.

How Can I Prevent a Behavioral Addiction From Developing?

Identifying problematic behaviors early on and seeking support can prevent them from developing into an addiction disorder. More generally, looking after the mental and physical well-being of yourself and others around you helps to manage the underlying issues that often drive behavioral addictions. In this way, it’s also important to seek effective support for any mental health issues to prevent individuals from trying to cope with them in unhealthy ways.

Can Support Groups Be Helpful for Those Struggling With Behavioral Addiction?

Yes, support groups can be hugely valuable for those struggling with addiction. They offer a source of inspiration, a chance to share advice, and a sense of comfort in shared experiences. Support groups are free and easily accessible, providing a reliable support system in the long term.

Are There Any Medications Used to Treat Behavioral Addiction?

Currently, there are no medications specially designated for behavioral addictions. However, medications may be able to help treat some of the underlying physical and mental health conditions that drive addictive behaviors, so they can play a role in a person’s recovery journey.

How We Can Help

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Clinical & Case

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Assessment & Planning

A Holistic Approach

Process addictions develop for a number of reasons and they vary for every individual. They can also develop as a result of other underlying genetic, traumatic, mental health concerns, and/or medical issues. In order to best gain a holistic understanding of a person’s past history and current needs, we meet with them and their family to get to know them better, learn about their past, and discover the ways our services can best support their care needs. Our Clinical and Case Managers first meet with the individual and/or their family to review the following areas outlined in the graphic below. Providers such as physicians, therapists, and other medical and mental health providers are also contacted to obtain additional information on the client if needed.

Once the assessment is complete, our Clinical Team meets to develop a customized care plan with treatment and care recommendations that are presented to the individual and their family. Recommendations may include a formal intervention if the individual of concern is resistant to treatment.

Psychosocial & Family Dynamics

Our comprehensive assessments address the following topics, helping us gather a holistic understanding of the individual and their life.

Education & Career

Our comprehensive assessments address the following topics, helping us gather a holistic understanding of the individual and their life.

Legal Issues

Our comprehensive assessments address the following topics, helping us gather a holistic understanding of the individual and their life.


Our comprehensive assessments address the following topics, helping us gather a holistic understanding of the individual and their life.

Life Skills

Our comprehensive assessments address the following topics, helping us gather a holistic understanding of the individual and their life.

History of Trauma

Our comprehensive assessments address the following topics, helping us gather a holistic understanding of the individual and their life.

Medical History & Medications

Our comprehensive assessments address the following topics, helping us gather a holistic understanding of the individual and their life.

Nutrition & Sleep

Our comprehensive assessments address the following topics, helping us gather a holistic understanding of the individual and their life.

Preparing for the Assessment

Our goal is to make the assessment process as comfortable as possible. We understand it can be difficult to discuss certain topics and experiences, but we are here to ensure individuals and families that the information gathered during the assessment is important because it allows our team to better understand the individual better so we can help them receive the best treatment available to their needs. Family members are encouraged to be involved in the assessment as they play an important role in their loved one’s recovery process.


Interventions are a Process, Not an Event

An intervention is intended to help individuals and families who have suffered mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially as a result of a behavioral or process addiction, substance use disorder, or a mental health disorder. We like to think of an intervention as an interruption to a path that is currently causing harm to an individual, and often times the ones they care about the most. When this interruption is created in a safe and loving space, an alternative path to hope and healing is created. Whether a formal intervention is needed, or a different form of intervention is determined to be more beneficial, our trained interventionists and addiction professionals are here to guide families through this process.

Leading With Love and Compassion

Our team of interventionists approaches all interventions with dignity and compassion. An intervention is not about creating shame, blame, or guilt. Through effective communication, not confrontation, our goal is to create a healing environment that inspires families and their loved ones to accept help. During the intervention we let the family communicate what they’ve experienced, what their fears are, and what their hope is for their loved one. Our interventions are designed to not only support the loved one of concern but to also provide their family with meaningful guidance and tools.

Crisis Intervention

Crisis intervention is an immediate and short-term emergency response to mental, emotional, physical, and/or behavioral distress. Crisis interventions can help to minimize the potential for long-term trauma or harm. Through crisis intervention, we provide guidance, resources, and the support necessary for those struggling to find the right stabilization and treatment.

Formal Intervention

Our formal interventions are family-focused and approached in a loving, dignified, and non-shaming way. When experiencing the stress and turmoil of worrying about a loved one, it can be easy to give into anger and blame. That is why we are here to coach families on the following key elements throughout the intervention planning process:

It’s important to remember that interventions exist on a continuum. There are different types of formal interventions that vary for each family’s needs. One type of formal intervention is very intentional and planned, often resulting in us having the intervention meeting unannounced. There is also an invitational intervention where we invite the loved one of concern into the process and schedule a time to have the actual intervention meeting. There are other scenarios that exist on a continuum, where our team strategizes with the family on the best way to present our plan so that it is accepted by their loved one.

Treatment Placement

Treatment Recommendations and Coordination of Care

Based on the assessment and the information we learn about an individual, our Clinical Team develops and presents treatment recommendations that reflect the appropriate level of care needed. Treatment recommendations vary based on the individual but may include residential treatment placement, outpatient treatment, therapy, recovery coaching, family coaching, and more. Proper placement and treatment recommendations are the foundation for lifelong recovery.

When residential treatment is recommended, our clinical team will present options for treatment centers based on our knowledge of the programs and the clinical and ethical vetting process we provide. We work with the individual and their family in supporting them to choose a treatment center that will provide the highest quality of care and peace of mind. We also develop a plan for continuing care upon discharge from residential treatment.

We are advocates for our clients and do not have any financial connection or receive any financial benefit from the programs and facilities we recommend. We strictly recommend facilities that have been personally vetted by our team and meet the needs of the client.

Recovery Companion

Our Recovery Companions support individuals by providing 24/7 support and accountability to their recovery plan. They are currently in recovery themselves and provide compassionate and judgment-free companionship to clients.

Recovery Transporation

We provide a recovery transport to drive or fly with clients to their intended destination. From traveling to and/or from a treatment facility to providing local transportation, we make sure clients get where they need to go safely.

Clinical & Case Management

Your Clinical Team

Each individual has their own Clinical Team which includes a Clinical Manager and a Case Manager. Clinical and Case Managers play a crucial role throughout the entire recovery process and are an essential element of our multidisciplinary team approach. Our Clinical and Case Managers are experienced and compassionate addiction and mental health professionals who provide advocacy, oversight, coordination, and collaboration to everyone involved in the individual’s care. In addition, they are also able to intervene and provide guidance when the agreed-upon care plan is not being properly followed. They have the awareness and skill to interrupt this early and work with the individual’s care team and family to put contingency plans in place.



Clinical and Case Managers serve as compassionate and knowledgeable advocates. Leveraging the expertise of our team of registered nurses, social workers, vocational consultants, coaches, psychologists, and other vetted care providers, they ensure individuals are making the most informed and appropriate decisions as they navigate their recovery.


Clinical and Case Managers are the central points of contact through which all information is gathered and maintained throughout the treatment and recovery process. They have a well-rounded perspective of everything occurring throughout the individuals treatment and recovery, and are able to ensure seamless and effective treatment is being delivered.


One of the main responsibilities of a Clinical and Case Manager is to connect individuals to the most appropriate providers and resources. From developing care plans and treatment recommendations, to scheduling and attending doctor’s appointments, they are specialists in finding, vetting, and coordinating the proper care.


Clinical and Case Managers serve as liaisons for individuals, their family members, and other providers or professionals involved in their care. Their most important skill is effectively collaborating and communicating with everyone involved in the client’s recovery so they can achieve the healing and recovery they deserve.

Family Programming

The Importance of Family Healing

When it comes to substance use disorders and addiction, it affects everyone in the family system. Through our family-centered approach, we work with families to guide, educate, and support them through their own healing as well as their loved ones’ recovery journey. We also provide the following services to support this process.


Family Coaching

Family Coaching provides ongoing education and support to families related to substance use disorder, addiction, and/or mental health concerns. Our compassionate Family Coaches build trusting relationships with families to assist in helping them through the treatment and recovery process.

Through coaching sessions, we work with families to help them identify the patterns or actions that are currently not working and explore ways they can achieve the results they are looking for. Our Family Coaches also provide practical strategies on codependency, boundary setting, and effective communication. We also work with families on improving their self-care so they are better able to support their loved one(s).

Coaching for the family takes place in-person, via phone, or video conference and is tailored to meet the family’s needs.

Experiential Breakthrough Intensives for Families

Experiential Breakthrough Intensives are for families or individuals who have been impacted by or experienced a substance use disorder, addiction, trauma, and/or mental health struggles. These intensives take a close examination of the behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and coping mechanisms of the participating family members, which have proved to be unsuccessful in the past. By exploring this, we are able to connect a line to the resulting shame, stress, and unwanted results.

Experiential Breakthrough Intensives are facilitated by trained and credentialed clinicians, who design each intensive for the unique needs of each family. During the intensive, participant(s) will be provided useful information (on what?), and participate in experiential exercises, such as psychodrama, physical movement, breathing exercises, and mindfulness.

The results available through the intensive have proven to be very profound. We are able to uncover what is driving the emotional reactions of participants, and create tools and strategies to support emotional resilience and ongoing health for everyone involved.

Coaching Services

We provide a variety of coaching services designed to support individuals and families throughout the treatment process, recovery process, and beyond. Learn more about the different coaching services we offer below.

Recovery Coaching

Our Recovery Coaches are compassionate and insightful individuals who have been in recovery themselves for a minimum of five years. Their number one priority is to build a trusting and meaningful relationship with the individual they are coaching. Through weekly communication, they help individuals develop goals that are supportive of their recovery. These goals could include participation in a recovery program, development of a support network, budgeting, job or career-related objectives, or going back to school. When reviewing goals, the Recovery Coach supports the individual in identifying what was accomplished, what could be improved, and what obstacles are currently present. Recovery Coaches also provide compassionate support during challenging times, which undoubtedly comes up in recovery.

Experiential Recovery Coaching

Experiential Recovery Coaching is an interactive process whereby the coach works closely with their client to guide them through an activity such as yoga, breathwork, meditation, or physical activity. These experiences are designed to create internal connections and provide valuable insights. Experiential Recovery Coaching helps the client access the mind-body connection and increase overall awareness.

Life Coaching

Our Life Coaches work with individuals to help them create positive results in their lives. At times it is through exploration and the creation of goals, at times it is about being in discovery as to what is possible. Our Life Coaches also support individuals through challenging life circumstances, transitions, and other life events. They coach clients on navigating these situations by providing guidance and helping them establish and achieve goals.

Health Coaching

Our Health Coaches work with individuals to help them cultivate and maintain a healthier lifestyle by creating long-lasting change in the areas of nutrition, exercise, health care, and emotional or mental wellness. They start by evaluating the person’s lifestyle, assessing any health concerns, and establishing goals that will help them create change in their overall health and wellbeing. Their goal is to support individuals in recognizing their own values, internal strengths, and insights to achieve their personal goals. They also receive self-management strategies and holistic practices to assist them with sustainable long-term changes.

Career Coaching

Our Certified Rehabilitation Counselor works with individuals to assess their interests, aptitude, motivation, and skills. They also support in identifying a career path that will be both purposeful, fulfilling, and supportive of the individual’s recovery and personal goals.

Executive Coaching

Our Executive Coaches provide support and guidance to executives and corporate professionals. They coach them on the areas of developing and improving leadership, assisting in creating agreements and organizational expectations, as well as providing direction and guidance in the area of company culture and values.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”


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