The Behavioral Addictions, by Michael S. Ascher, M.D., and Petros Levounis, M.D., is the first American Psychiatric Publishing title to explore the diagnosis and treatment of patients who suffer from behavioral addictions.
Extreme forms of behavioral addictions share specific characteristics with severe forms of substance use disorders. Both substance addictions and behavior addictions can hijack a person’s pleasure-and-reward brain circuitry, causing great suffering. Some common characteristics include:
- tolerance (the need to use the substance or perform the troublesome behavior at higher doses, or more and more frequently, in order to achieve the same effect);
- withdrawal (feelings of restlessness, irritability, and discontent following abrupt discontinuation of the substance or the behavior);
- obsessive thinking and planning that block out anything other than obtaining or engaging in the addictive agent or behavior; and
- accompanying external consequences in related to finances, health, interpersonal relationships, legal affairs, etc.
This case-based volume is practical and engaging and offers many features that make it not only informative but also accessible and entertaining.
Behaviors covered involve exercise, food, gambling, Internet gaming, Internet surfing, kleptomania, love, sex, shopping, work, tanning, and e-mailing/texting.
Introductory chapters discuss the relationship of behavioral or process addictions to substance use disorders across many spheres, and they provide an overview of the behavioral addictions from neurobiological, theoretical, clinical, and forensic perspectives.
Each chapter focuses on a real-life case study of a patient with a behavioral addiction. Videos that accompany the volume demonstrate encounters between a clinician and a patient exhibiting an addiction. This puts material on assessment, treatment, etc. into a real-world context. The Behavioral Addictions helps the reader to determine not only where to draw the line between healthy and unhealthy levels of participation in a behavior, but also how to intervene in ways that are therapeutic, effective, and evidence-based.
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Some reviews, from the back of the book.
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