Daniel Vasile



Are Behavioral Addictions a Specific Chapter of the Postmodernist Psychopathology?

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behavioral addictions, postmodernism, Internet, compulsive shopping, food addiction, psychotherapy, gaming dependence


Postmodernist societies are confronted with new challenges in the domain of psychopathology, as a result of the cultural paradigm shift, globalization, higher sense of alienation, and increasing access to technological developments. Although behavioral addictions have common features with drug-related dependence, they are quite a distinct category within current psychopathology and further research is needed until clear-cut diagnosis criteria and therapeutic guidelines will be formulated. Internet surfing addiction, gaming dependence, food addiction, exercise addiction, smartphone/SMS addiction, compulsive shopping, spending addiction, Internet pornography addiction and many more nosological entities have been described in the literature in the last decades. Several scales for screening and monitoring some of these disorders have been published, but for many behavioral addictions there is a paucity of instruments, and the clinical monitorization is based solely on the case manager’s experience. Neurobiology of these conditions has been presumed to be similar with the drug-related dependence, with the dopamine reward circuits being the cornerstone for understanding behavioral addictions pathophysiology. Exposure with response prevention, cognitive restructuring, self-help group therapy based on 12-steps approaches and eclectic techniques have been applied in these patients with variable degree of success. Still, the question of which is the best way to conceptualize behavioral addictions persists: are these disorders an extreme manifestation of a new way of life in an increasingly technologized environment, or are they only different forms of manifestations of the old drug-related disorders?

Cite this paper

Daniel Vasile. (2017) Are Behavioral Addictions a Specific Chapter of the Postmodernist Psychopathology?. International Journal of Cultural Heritage, 2, 43-50