What is Sex Addiction?
Sex addiction is a process addiction disorder (addiction to a behavior) in which a person cannot control repeated sexual impulses, resulting in brain changes that lead to addiction. Symptoms of sex addiction include:
- Intrusive sexual fantasies
- Repetitive sexual urges and thoughts
- Compulsive sexual behaviors including voyeurism or exhibitionism
- A significant preoccupation with sexual activity and fantasies
- Repetitive sexual acting with one or multiple partners
- Engagement in unplanned sexual behaviors with strangers regardless of negative consequences like sexually transmitted infections
- Having multiple affairs or habitual one-night stands
- Compulsively watching pornography or masturbating, or engaging in phone sex or cybersex
- Neglecting other aspects of your life to prioritize sexual activity
- Being unsuccessful in stopping or decreasing sexual activity, thoughts, impulses and fantasies
- Experiencing distress or shame due to compulsive sexual behaviors
These hard-to-control sexual urges may cause real problems in relationships and may make daily responsibilities challenging for people addicted to sex and those with sexually compulsive urges. This issue is a misunderstood mental disorder, in which a sexual addict does not necessarily take pleasure in these impulses, instead they are uncontrollable and distressing at times.
If you can relate to these signs of sex addiction you are not alone. Approximately 3% of Americans suffer from some degree of compulsive sexual behavior or hypersexuality disorder. Compulsive sexual behavior disorder is a condition that can be managed but may require professional sex addiction treatment.
What Causes Sex Addiction?
Causes of sex addiction or hypersexuality may include:
- Abnormal childhood experiences, or childhood relationships with adults
- Having been sexually abused or being exposed to other disturbing sexual experiences
- Chemical imbalances in the brain causing mental illness and addictive behaviors
- Social or lifestyle influences that may lead to behaviors causing porn addiction or other sexual dysfunction
- Brain issues including seizure disorder, tumors or lesions can lead to a greater chance of developing sexual addiction or hypersexuality
Substance Abuse and Sex
It has been proven that the same reward systems in the brain are stimulated by substance abuse and compulsive sexual intercourse. Just like drug addicts, sex addicts become addicted to the dopamine releases in the brain, and often turn to substances to replicate this feeling without engaging in sexually addictive behavior. Sometimes people who engage in sexual activities while high or drunk will begin to associate the intoxication with sexual behaviors, and others may turn to certain drugs when engaging in sex to increase endurance or intensify sensations, with these behaviors leading to alcohol or drug addiction.
Sex and Drug Addiction Treatment
Common treatments for compulsive sexual behavior and other behavioral addictions often involves cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or other types of behavioral therapy to try and help the patient learn to control their patterns of thinking and actions in order to change the way they feel and perceive the world. Cognitive behavioral addiction treatment helps people to become their own therapist in a way, allowing them to identify problematic issues on their own and make choices in how to react, an important resource to have in any addiction recovery.
Another helpful resource is the abundance of 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Sex Addicts Anonymous. These don’t always meet in an addiction center and are available for anybody in the community to join for peer support and help when things become too difficult to bear on your own. Sex Addicts Anonymous will help you control sexual impulses and sexual behavior by providing steps to follow, while also integrating spirituality by appealing to a higher power for help. For many, 12-Step programs are very effective tools in their recovery toolbox, helping them control sexual behavior long-term.
Other helpful treatments may include couple’s therapy, psychodynamic therapy, or pharmacotherapy.
Are You Looking for Help with Drug or Sex Addiction?
At Trupath treatment center, we offer drug addiction and sex addition treatment in a safe dual diagnosis program that incorporates sex addiction treatments and drug or alcohol addiction treatments together into one integrated program that includes:
- One on one therapy, group therapy and couples therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Support groups
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Holistic therapies like yoga, meditation and art therapy
Along with compulsive sexual behavior disorder, our dual diagnosis treatments for mental health disorders also treat other co-occurring issues that occur alongside substance abuse disorders like:
- bipolar disorder
- personality disorder
- eating disorder
- anxiety disorder
- behavioral disorders
- borderline personality disorder
- gambling addiction
- mood disorders
In our customized inpatient and outpatient programs, our healthcare professionals and mental health professionals can help you heal your mind, body, and spirit from addiction. You or your loved ones can contact us today to find out more information about our treatment center and how we can help you regain control and live a happier, healthier life.