Behavioral addiction: clinical and therapeutic aspects

Dipendenze senza sostanza: aspetti clinici e terapeutici

D. Marazziti, S. Presta, M. Picchetti, L. Dell’Osso

Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Università di Pisa


Although traditional addictive syndromes are those related to substance use disorders, during the last decades a novel addictive group, including the so-called ‘behavioral addictions’, has been detected and become one of the main modern and post-modern psychopathological expressions. Both substance and behavioral addictions show similar phenomena, such as craving, dependence, tolerance and abstinence, but the former are poorly understood in terms of both clinical features and management.

Materials and methods
A literature review was carried out in Pubmed and Medline over the last two decades on ‘behavioral addictons’; some commercial books, albeit popular, were also cited.

Results and conclusions
The main ‘no-drug’ addictions include pathological gambling, compulsive shopping, TV-internet-social networks-videogames addictions, workaholism, sex and relationship addictions, orthorexia and overtraining syndrome. Improving knowledge about their psychopathological, clinical, and neurobiological features has relevant implications for more focused prevention and treatment strategies.

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