While not recognized officially as an addiction by the mainstream medical community, the suffering and treatment of sexual compulsions has a malady that many people have fought over the years, and is a type of disease that our facilities specialize in treating. Most typically sexual addiction is recognized by symptoms such as having casual sex with multiple partners and knowingly engaging in sexual activity that carries dangerous consequences such as having unprotected sex.
Sex addiction can range from introverted to highly social behavior; some sex addicts focus on masturbation or other solo activities while others are constantly cruising online meeting places, bars, and parties for another cheap thrill. Of course like many drug habits this problem can develop through recreational experimentation, but will then take up more and more time in someone's life. Personal relationships often suffer, as well as careers and other obligations. Sex addiction also has many typical dangers attributed to a chronic habit, including risk of sexually transmitted diseases, health complications, codependent relationships, and domestic abuse.
While it is important to note that not all persons who engage in regular sexual behavior have a disease, the mental health community does largely recognize that patterns of risky and compulsive sexual behavior may cross the line into a habit that can be considered addictive. Like gambling or binge eating, sex addiction replaces a stimulating chemical with a pleasurable activity that is also known to create euphoric outbursts in the human brain. Sex addiction is not always defined solely by the frequency of sexual activity, but also the nature of the activity; someone engaging in compulsive sexual activity tends to have little or no emotional relationship with their partners and often sees them only as objects or a means to an end. Abusive and manipulative behavior towards partners or potential partners is also a common trait.
Our rehab and recovery facilities deal with many forms of compulsive behaviors, including sex addiction. We separate our patients from situations and environments that are enabling this behavior, and apply a number of selective therapies to curb obsessive and compulsive feelings. Counseling and therapy is not used just to help patients stop abusing themselves, but also to teach them how to engage in meaningful, healthy relationships with others once more, which is often one of the most difficult challenges for those whose addictions have encouraged them to devalue people, relationships, and healthy activities. If someone with a sex addiction sobers up, but is unable to re-integrate into normal social activities, than they are likely to go back to their negative tendencies.
How Do I Identify Sexual Addiction?
Unlike the serial use of drugs, having a lot of sex does not make you an addict. However if a number of these symptoms are visible in you or someone you know, you may want to re-evaluate the activities you are engaging in:
Excessive or compulsive masturbation that often interrupts regular activities
Excessive or compulsive use of pornography
Sex with different or multiple partners on an ongoing basis that lack meaningful relationships
Preventable unsafe sexual practices and experimentation with harmful, abusive sexual relationships
Excessive use of sexual behavior for escaping emotional and psychological problems
Excessive or compulsive use of sex industry services, including phone sex hotlines, prostitutes, and strip clubs, etc.; often to the point of severe financial distress
Hiding sexual activity from partners or loved ones, and engaging in exploitative sexual behavior such as voyeurism or exhibitionism
If you feel that you or someone you know qualifies as having a sexual addiction, then you should determine whether an intervention or a conversation with a sex addiction counselor could help. Unfortunately these issues often come to light during times of crises or when this behavior leads to an extremely destructive situation. If this is the case, full admission to an addiction treatment center may be necessary to put a stop to self-destructive activities before more harm is caused. A Center for Addiction Recovery has many specialists that work in behavioral addictions that create calming, healing environments for patients in order to teach them to regain control of their bodies and return to healthy, beneficial relationships. Speak to us today about what can be done to help treat sex addiction.
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