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  • 1 Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Background and Aims

This commentary is written in response to a paper by Billieux, Schimmenti, Khazaal, Maurage and Hereen (2015) published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions.

Methods

It supports and extends the arguments by Billieux, Schimmenti et al. (2015): that the study of behavioral addictions too often rests on atheoretical and confirmatory research approaches. This tends to lead to theories that lack specificity and a neglect of the underlying processes that might explain why repetitive problem behaviors occur.

Results

In this commentary I extend the arguments by Billieux, Schimmenti et al. (2015) and argue that such research approaches might take us further away from conceptualizing psychiatric diagnoses that can be properly validated, which is already a problem in the field. Furthermore, I discuss whether the empirical support for conceptualizing repetitive problem behaviors as addictions might rest on research practices that have been methodologically biased to produce a result congruent with the proposal that substance addictions and behavioral addictions share similar traits.

Conclusions

I conclude by presenting a number of ways of going forward, chief of which is the proposal that we might wish to go beyond a priori assumptions of addiction in favor of identifying the essential problem manifestations for each new potential behavioral addiction.

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