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What causes behavioral addiction?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
Even though behavioral expressions of addiction don't require the use of psychoactive substances, certain behaviors cause the brain to generate the same chemicals, most notably dopamine (a neurotransmitter that seems to be especially important in the development and maintenance of addiction), that are released in response to using certain substances. This creates a subjectively desirable experience, which, for some people, can lead to addiction. Behavioral expressions of addiction include computer or Internet use, shopping, sexual activity, and eating.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.