"She spends all day and night on her phone."
"He racked up a huge bill on my credit card from gaming."
“They were on the computer all day and got fired from another job. Sometimes they  won’t even come for dinner.”


Behavioural/ Process Addictions

A process or behavioural addiction is the compulsive use of a behaviour or a series of behaviours, which has many of the negative consequences seen in addiction to substances, with possibly the exception of some of the physical symptoms. It is still indicated by the compulsive nature of the way people who are struggling with behavioural addictions use their chosen way of engaging in what they are addicted to e.g. Using their phone, gaming, sex. They use it to get “high” in much the same we see people with substance use disorder. That high can mean numbing out unpleasant feelings, thoughts or alter their mood. Increasing the behaviour despite negative consequences, such as effect on relationship, family life, loss of job, financial consequences, legal problems, but the drive to engage in the addictive behaviour or process is greater than the consequence.

When a person is unable to stay at a job for a significant period of time, they often feel like a failure, so they engage more in the addictive behaviour to numb that feeling. When a person is addicted to their altered online persona, whether that’s gaming or dating apps, they will struggle with real life relationships, increasing their dependency on their virtual “life”. And while a person can’t overdose on behaviour as such, these addictions can lead to serious issues, such as mounting debts (sometimes from corrupt sources), and physical self-neglect (i.e. not sleeping, eating or bathing).  

Most of us have two lives: one physical, the other online. Between social media personas, engaging virtually with friends, gaming with strangers and online dating, the internet equals connection for many people. But for some people, this need to connect snowballs into something unhealthy... and that can have dire consequences. 

We see many clients who haven’t touched drugs or alcohol but who struggle to put their mobile device down or to walk away from the computer, even for a few minutes. We see many others who have dependencies on gambling (online or not), on shopping, and on pornography. 

Sometimes people will replace one addiction with another, particularly in the early stages of recovery. Process addictions are often accompanied by intense feelings of shame or guilt and the activity can take place in increasing isolation. In common with all addictive behaviours it is very difficult to simply stop. The Wave Team are experienced in managing process addictions and treatment explores the root cause of this mental health concern.


Behavioural/ Process Addictions

Some of the common behavioural or process addictions we treat include:

How do I know it's a problem?

How do I know it's a problem?

“Aren’t all kids on their screens all the time?

A behaviour becomes an addiction when it begins to take precedence in a person’s life, even if it’s making them unhappy or unhealthy.

If any behaviour has caused your teen or young adult to:

  • Engage less in family activities and/or mealtimes
  • Spend less time with their friends in the real world 
  • Stop attending, fail at school or Lose a job
  • Lie, be dishonest or evasive
  • Struggle to keep money or rack up debt
  • Have insomnia or sleep at odd times of day
  • If removing the behaviour has caused violence, aggression or self-harm

What are the Signs my loved one has a Behavioural Addiction?

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Whilst both provide an intensive level of treatment, an IOP has no overnight or weekend care. For that reason, it is most suited to those who have adequate support, stable home setting and have minimal environmental triggers. IOP is well suited to those who have completed detox and some primary care or have been stabilised following a crisis episode. 

Because of our no electronics policy, everybody who stays at The Wave in is given an MP3 player, so they can stay in touch with their favourite music. We know the importance of music to recovery of any kind - in fact, the latest research shows that young babies in the hospital are discharged up to 2 weeks earlier when they’re played music to help settle them. We believe people can get great benefit from interacting with music and its calming effects.
We can download additional music tracks, meditation and talks to the MP3 players throughout the duration of the client’s stay.

We all need a little support at times. We encourage our young people to remain part of the treatment family, long after the crisis is resolved. We have unlimited access to your dedicated what’s app group. In your personal group you will find our medical team, clinical team and your therapist. They are on hand to help you whenever the needs arise. In addition, you can book Skype sessions or even return for short ‘top up’ stays. We will ensure you leave with a robust treatment plan in all areas of recovery life. 

For more FAQs, please refer to our FAQs page.

The Wave Clinic is only a call away

Our approach at The Wave is tailored to each client’s individual needs.
We combine one-on-one and group counselling with holistic and complementary treatments, as well as with physical activities.
We believe in treating the whole person rather than focusing solely on the “problem”.
If you’d like more information about our program and facilities,
or want to tell us more about your family’s needs, please:


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