Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

pp 1-6

Date: Latest Version

Addictions in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Meagan J. BremAffiliated withUniversity of Tennessee-Knoxville Email author 
  • , Autumn Rae FlorimbioAffiliated withUniversity of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • , Gregory L. StuartAffiliated withUniversity of Tennessee-Knoxville


Behavioral addictions; Impulse control disorders


Behavioral addictions, sometimes referred to as impulse control disorders, are becoming increasingly recognized as treatable addictions. In 2011, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) departed from traditional conceptualizations of addiction as being limited to substance dependence and instead referred to addiction as a chronic disease affecting brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry. Though debate continues regarding the nature, etiology, and terms used to describe various behavioral addictions, evidence suggests that these behaviors often involve a natural reward which maintains the behaviors despite the presence of aversive physical, mental, or social consequences.

Gambling disorder is the only behavioral addiction recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association 2013). However, a growing body of research has a ...

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