Problematic behaviours are those behaviours that are causing difficulty in our lives because they are distressing to ourselves or to others. They may lead to emotional problems, health problems, marital problems, legal problems etc. We may also find that when we try to control or stop these behaviours, we are no longer able to. In such cases, the behaviour may have become an addiction. These behavioural problems and behavioural addictions tend to occur in areas that we find highly rewarding, such as the below;
Various forms of gambling can become problematic/addictive for some people. Nowadays, online forms of gambling are particularly accessible, which can make these types of behaviour harder to control.
The internet also provides a new wide range of sexual behavioural possibilities which more and more people are running into trouble with. More long-standing forms of problem sexual behaviours such as affairs, prostitution and sexual addiction are also prevalent in our clinical work.
Internet pornography is seen as one of the most potentially addictive online sexual behaviours due to its enormous variety and accessibility. While it is not problematic for everyone, it does seem to be increasingly causing problems for individuals and couples.
Junk foods i.e foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt are also a major source of problematic behaviour in modern society, leading to obesity and a variety of health problems. Changing these behaviours can be difficult, but is more successful with professional help, particularly because of the emotional nature of problem eating.
Alcohol is one of the best know areas of addictive behaviour in Irish culture. What is less well know is the role that it can play in facilitating other problem behaviours such as those listed above.
Other mood-altering drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, tranquilizers and painkillers are also well-established as potential sources of problematic/addictive behaviour. Adolescence can be a particularly vulnerable stage in the development of a relationship with such substances.
Gaming is also well known for its addictive nature. Many young people in particular discover that it interferes with other aspects of their lives such as study, work, relationships, socialising etc.
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