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Recognizing and Responding to Behavioral Addictions

Join us for a Live Webinar on July 28, 2022 from 1-2:30 pm EDT
1.5 CE hours available for behavioral health clinicians

Behavioral addictions such as gaming, gambling, sex, pornography, social media, and food affect a substantial number of clients, yet many counselors have not received formal training on how to treat behavioral addictions. In this presentation, attendees will learn how to recognize and respond to behavioral addictions in clinical practice. Specifically, the presenter will describe how to conceptualize behavioral addictions, the neuroscience of behavioral addictions, criteria of behavioral addictions, and several treatment considerations. Given that behavioral addictions affect individuals across the lifespan, this course is ideal for mental health professionals in all settings including schools, colleges, community agencies, hospitals, and private practice.

Behavioral addictions are rewarding behaviors that become compulsive, out of control, continue despite negative consequences, and induce cravings or mental preoccupation. Like drugs of abuse, potentially addictive behaviors activate reward circuitry in the brain and are both positively and negatively reinforcing. Recent changes to diagnostic and disease classification manuals, in addition to growing concerns regarding the addictive nature of online activities, necessitate that all clinicians are able to recognize behavioral addictions in their clinical work. In addition, all mental health professionals must be equipped to respond ethically and effectively to behavioral addictions with a clear conceptualization guided by the most recent neuroscience. Attendees of this course can expect a robust overview of the criteria of behavioral addiction, the application of a public health model for conceptualizing addictive behaviors, individual risk factors for the development of behavioral addictions, and appropriate treatment approaches.

 Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the evolving definition of addiction and conceptualize behavioral addictions using a public health model.
  • Explain the criteria for behavioral addictions and how to differentiate between high involvement in a behavior and a behavioral addiction. 
  • Synthesize current research and relevant neuroscience related to the prevalence and nature of behavioral addictions.
Amanda L. Giordan headshot

Amanda L. Giordano

Amanda L. Giordano, PhD, LPC is an associate professor at the University of Georgia who specializes in addictions counseling. She is the sole author of a clinical reference book titled, A Clinical Guide to Treating Behavioral Addictions, co-author of a textbook titled, Addiction Counseling: A Practical Approach, and developer of an online course, Working with Behavioral Addictions, with Mental Health Academy. Dr. Giordano works to advance the counseling field with rigorous research and has published over 55 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and has conducted over 120 presentations. In 2018, Dr. Giordano received the Addictions/Offender Educator of Excellence Award from the International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors (IAAOC) and in 2022 she was awarded the Russell H. Yeany Jr., Research Award from her college. Dr. Giordano collaborates with domestic and international organizations to provide trainings to increase awareness related to behavioral addictions. She maintains a blog called Understanding Addiction for Psychology Today and has been a guest on several podcasts.

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