Scholar Practitioner Project: Chemical and Behavioral Addictions

Chemical addictions are addiction disorders associated with the intake of psychoactive substances, while behavioral addictions do not involve the ingestion of substances. Addiction refers to persistence in behavior regardless of the consequences linked to the action. Both habits result in obsession, and any attempt to eliminate them in an addict will only increase the craving for the addictive substance or behavior. These addictions rob a person’s ability to control their actions; therefore, even though they may desire to desist from the material or act, they are incapable. Substance and non-substance addicts will also continue to involve in the behavior or substances despite causing frequent problems. In essence, chemical and behavioral addictions interfere with the neural pathway of the brain’s reward system (, n.d.).

Substance addictions bear adverse effects on both the body and brain, leading to long term health problems on an individual, which is not the case for non-substance addiction. The other main difference between chemical and behavioral addiction is that chemical addiction involves a substance and the latter an action. Behaviorally addicted victims possess symptoms and face the consequences brought about by addiction to substances, and this makes the treatment of addiction difficult.

Gambling disorder and drug addiction will be our first set of dependencies to discuss. Gambling disorder is a compulsive behavior that leads to distress, obsession, and impaired functioning. The symptoms of gambling disorder include; squandering money to achieve the craving of enthusiasm, preoccupation, failure in attempts to stop gambling, continually lying to cover up losses in gambling, difficulties in relationships and working, dependency and restlessness when trying to overcome gambling (, n.d.). Drug addictions affect the brain and health of an individual as well as causing weird behaviors. The symptoms of drug addiction include; withdrawal, frequent illness, changes in body appearance, stress and obsession, hallucinations, desire for money to the extent of engaging in crime, preoccupation with drugs, deception, and irresponsibility, to mention a few (Alta Mira, 2017). The similarity in the signs of this addiction poses a challenge in treatment decisions because a desperate gambler could turn to drugs. Likewise, a drug addict in an attempt to raise money could opt to gamble.

Another set of non-substance and substance addiction is gaming disorder and alcohol addiction. Gaming disorder becomes an addiction when an individual control over gaming ceases; gaming takes over other activities and in case of persistence in the game despite negative results. Also, excessive gaming leads to constraints in family life, finance, personal life, education, profession, and social life. Gaming disorder is challenging to treat since many addicts take it as an entertainment, and trying to intervene can only cause violence and disagreements in society (Higuchi et al., 2017). Alcohol addiction likewise causes preoccupation, financial problems, irresponsibility at work, homes, and school, withdrawal, deaths due to reckless driving and withdrawal symptoms. The treatment of gaming and alcohol addiction is almost impossible since it forms the basis of an individual lifestyle that they cannot escape. Therefore, for any treatment to work, the addict must willingly accept to abstain and overcome the tendency to return to addiction at all costs.

Behavioral addictions are as dangerous as substance addictions are yet we may fail to recognize it in real life. Substance and behavior addicts could commit a crime in society if they denied attention and treatment. Also, overcoming addiction, willingness, and commitment is mandatory since abstinence is arduous.


Alta Mira. (2017, December 1). Characteristics and symptoms of drug addictions. Alta Mira Recovery.

Higuchi, S., Nakayama, H., Maezono, M., Mihara, S., Kitayuguchi, K., & Hashimoto, T. (2017). Inclusion of gaming disorder criteria in ICD-11: A clinical perspective in favor. Journal of Behavioral Addictions. (n.d.). Are behavioral addictions the same as drug addictions? Mental Health, Depression, Anxiety, Wellness, Family & Relationship Issues, Sexual Disorders & ADHD Medications.

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