Sex addiction has nothing to do with sex. As with any addiction, it is a way to relieve feelings associated with depression, loneliness, and a sense of emptiness. Many sex addicts live with guilt and shame; the same as an alcoholic or drug addict. Sex addiction can include any number of behaviors including engaging in phone sex, excessive masturbation, or sex with multiple partners.
Sex addicts, like other addicts, are unable to control their behavior despite negative consequences of engaging in the behavior. Brain images of sex addicts are like those of drug addicts or alcoholics. There is a region in the brain that is stimulated when a sex addict thinks about sex or engaging in other sexual activities. There are also associated cravings and rewards with sex addiction.
Sex addiction is not recognized by the psychiatric community as a viable disorder; however, many hope that this will change soon. Psychology experts who specialize in treating sex addictions hope that those who have this problem will receive the same consideration as those with a substance abuse or problem gambling issue. Sex addiction is just as debilitating and destructive as any other addiction. An addiction to sex destroys families, causes problems in social and occupational functioning, and keeps the addict from addressing their underlying thoughts and feelings.
According to researchers, sex addiction can be seen in one out of 25 adults. As with other addictions, sex addiction can affect up to seven other individuals who are associated with the sex addict. There are corresponding feelings of shame and guilt related to sex addiction but despite these negative feelings, the sex addict continues to engage in the behavior.
Treatment for sex addiction is similar to treatment for other addictions. Participating in 12-step meetings, outpatient care, or individual therapy have shown promise in treating sex addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to help the individual learn to repress their sexual urges for a period of time. Other therapies might include healing the dysfunctional mother-child relationship that is often seen with sex addicts. Sex addicts also need to learn how to have a healthy sexual relationship with others without experiencing anxiety or a fear of abandonment. 12-step programs for sex addicts may help in alleviating the shame or guilt associated with sex addiction, as others in the group are experiencing the same feelings allowing support and understanding to the addict.
An integrative approach to treatment is necessary for healing the mind, the body, and the spirit from the effects of addiction, trauma, and mental health. Cottonwood Tucson offers critically acclaimed clinical care for men, women, and adolescents. Call us today for information on our internationally recognized programs. (800) 877-4520.