Will insurance cover my behavioral addiction?

At the moment, behavioral addictions or “soft” addictions such as compulsive gambling, sex addictions, work addictions, love addictions, internet addictions, and shopping addictions are not generally defined as to be medical conditions by most health insurance plans, and as such most insurance plans do not cover these behavioral addictions.

This is not to say that these addictions are not very real or potentially harmful to an individual. In many ways they can just as or more harmful than many “real” addictions. If you are struggling with a behavioral addiction and you believe that it is negatively impacting your life you may wish to seek treatment regardless, as the out of pocket expense very likely is minimal in comparison to the damage such an addiction may cause on your emotional, mental and financial well being.

That all said, while behavioral addictions are not generally considered medical conditions, they are however often co-occuring or comorbid with other addictions or medical disorders that are.

To give a specific and extreme example, compulsively browsing Facebook 12 hours a day may be having a negative impact on an individual’s life and as such, would make it something worth treating, but many health insurance plans may not cover treatment. However, if an addict habitually smokes crack cocaine while browsing the internet 12 hours a day, there is a good chance insurance would cover treatment as that behavior pattern presents a significant health risk to the addict. Again, this is an extreme example, but it demonstrates that these issues rarely occur in a vacuum and a comprehensive therapy solution that targets the root cause of your addiction may be able to help with both issues simultaneously.

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