Behavioural addiction occurs when normal behaviour assumes an addictive and dangerous form. This may concern behaviours associated with nutrition habits, sex life and even physical exercises.

Behavioural addictions are not associated with the use of psychoactive substances, but with behaviour which we are unable to control.

Most of such addictions entail negligence of other activities – responsibilities, interests and contact with others. Behaviour causing addictions is exhibited for the purpose of relaxation or stress relief.

What can become an addiction? The most common factors include gambling, sex addiction, workaholism, and the increasing frequency of computer addiction. Other factors include shopping, physical exercise and even sun tanning.


Gambling covers all games for money or other goods, where winning is decided by chance. This is a conscious risk, aimed not just at improving one’s financial standing, but also at searching for strong sensations - they lie at the foundation of addictions.

Gambling includes casino games, lottery tickets, financial wagers, card games, betting at races or playing the stock market.

Computers and the Internet

An increasingly common problem is addiction to computers, the Internet and video games.

The consequences of computer addiction can effect not just the mind or social relations, but also the health, e.g. vision deterioration, headaches, sleeping disorders, the carpal tunnel syndrome or spinal curvature.


Sex addiction, which is also referred to as sexoholism or erotomania, is a constant and destructive desire for sexual activity – frequently and diversely. This is accompanied by the inability to build long-lasting and intimate relationships.

The online counselling service notes that sex addiction may be based on the sense of inferiority, shyness, uncertainty and the lack of confidence in one’s own sexual abilities, which drive the constant need for proving oneself.

Erotomania occurs as nymphomania in women and satyriasis in men.


Workaholics are people who consider their jobs as the main value in life. Their jobs prevent them from spending time with their families or resting, and they believe time devoted to other activities is lost. Workaholics are constantly preoccupied with their jobs, even if they appear to be doing something else.

The service cautions that the effects of workaholism may lead to occupational burnout, health issues and unhealthy stress, or even death. Specialists believe that a good method to fight this form of addiction is to find a hobby. This method, however, is ineffective in the case of advanced addiction.

Where to seek help?

Addiction cannot be self-diagnosed, so if you notice any alarming symptoms, you should see a specialist.

The Institute of Health Psychology of the Polish Psychological Society has launched a helpline (801-889-880) for addicted persons, their friends and relatives. The line is available daily, including weekends, from 5 PM to 10 PM. An online counselling service also operates at, under the supervision of the 24 Godziny Foundation. It contains a list of establishments where help can be sought.

Both the helpline and the online service are run thanks to the support of the Fund for Solving Gambling Problems, which falls under the authority of the Minister of Health.

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