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Behavioural addictions are typically associated with behaviours that are rewarding in the short term, such as gaming/gambling, internet use, sex or shopping.

Gaming addiction may relate to gambling or video games. In the case of gambling, players get more addicted to games where they win or lose fast. In other words, slot machines at supermarkets are more addictive than lottery. Gambling addiction often results in financial problems that at the same time pressure the punter to carry on playing. The chance of a big win provides encouragement to continue playing even when all money, both one’s own and borrowed, has gone. Addiction to video games and the internet are more recent phenomena. They tend to cause less significant problems that are more difficult to demonstrate than in the case of gambling addiction and substance dependence. However, spending a lot of time playing or surfing in the intriguing world of the internet can put significant strain on work, studies and social relationships.

Sex addiction can manifest itself in different ways. Some people are addicted to sex with another person, whereas others are more addicted to masturbation and use pornographic material obsessively. Both of these may cause self-loathing, shame and major relationship problems, e.g. due to infidelity. Sex addicts cannot control their behaviour and cannot always resist engaging in casual sex.