Discover the real nature of sex addiction and why it is considered an addiction and not simply a hyperactive libido. Learn about the most suitable treatment program available for individuals with sex addiction and how it can change their lives.
When we think of addiction, the first thing that is thought of is alcohol, prescription medications, and illicit substances. While most people won’t argue that drug and alcohol addiction isn’t a true problem, there can be controversy concerned behavioral addictions such as sex addiction. While many people have heard the term sex addiction, there is considerable debate if it is truly an addiction.
At this time, sex addiction is not classified as such in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). While it may not be defined as addiction itself, those afflicted engage in damaging behaviors that put their physical and mental health at risk as well as others.
There’s a debate whether sex addiction is real addiction or just a case of hyper libido, where a person just craves for sex to satisfy his or her desires. But, sex addiction is a serious condition just like drug addiction and mental disorders. Although the DSM-5 Manual has not yet included sex addiction as a mental disorder, people who engage in damaging sexual behaviors need to get help as soon as possible before they lose everything that’s important in their lives.
People with sex addiction have underlying problems like depression, anxiety, and serious psychological problems that lead them to desire sex more often than an average person. They are prone to sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS and Hepa B. Their jobs, relationships, social standing and health are at serious risk while they continue to engage in this addictive pattern of pornography, soliciting sex from strangers, masturbation, exhibitionism and other harmful sexual behaviors.
Is sex addiction a question of morality?
Contrary to what other people say, sexual addiction is not sexual preference or absence of good moral conduct but a real psychological problem which like the addiction is difficult to stop. They can’t stop thinking about sexual thoughts and acts and they lose control of their sexual desires. Sexual thoughts preoccupy their mind and without it, they feel depressed, isolated, and empty. They may stop for a while but they always go back to it without proper treatment. Most sex addicts live in conflict with themselves because of constant shame and fear of being discovered and the uncontrollable desire to have sex.
How sex addiction starts
While the causes of sex addiction remain unknown and there were no concrete studies to prove whether or not the brain mechanisms associated with substance addiction work in the same way as sex addiction. This condition is related to the dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. Alterations in the levels of these brain chemicals affect the person’s ability to control emotions, impulses, and attention. There are also psychological conflicts like depression, problems with self-acceptance, abusive past and unexpressed fear, guilt, and other negative circumstances in a person’s life that lead to this condition.
How is sexual addiction defined?
Simply defined, sexual addiction the engagement of persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behavior despite the damage it does to oneself, loved ones, and others in the community at large. Common acts associated with sexual addiction can include compulsive masturbation, excessive viewing of pornographic material, or using computer sex services. Disturbingly, sexual addiction can also involve activities such as exhibitionism, voyeurism, child molestation or rape. Sex addiction not only damages one’s personal life and social life, it puts them and others at tremendous risk at developing sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV/AIDS.
For many people, the roots of sex addiction are thought to be borne from a need of power and control over others. For others, sex addiction springs from one’s failed moral compass. Additionally, it is thought those with sex addiction have brain activity similar to those addicted to substances regarding the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.
Causes of sex addiction according to Dr. Magness
Dr. Milton Magness says that you have sex addiction if you engaged in sexual behavior that has hurt you or someone else and that despite the fact that doing so hurts you or the other person, you do it again, and again, and again. He said that sex addiction often starts with watching or reading pornographic materials at an early age. Abuse is another factor; it can be sexual, physical or emotional abuse. Another factor is a religious belief where people have extreme opinions on sex, either it should totally be avoided or desired.
Treating sex addiction
When addressing sex addiction, the person afflicted must understand the roots of why they feel the way they do. They must try and uncover when and where these unhealthy thought patterns emerged. Most importantly, they must come to the realization that professional help is the only way to break the vicious cycle of sex addiction. Real addiction treatment does not simply correct the behaviors without going to their roots. Doing so will only offer temporary relief and the client may relapse afterward.
Effective sex addiction treatment like the one offered by Hawaii Island Recovery includes thorough medical, social and psychological assessments in which the individualized treatment plan will be based. You will have consultations with the most appropriate therapist/addiction specialist based on your needs. There are individual and group therapy sessions to help you discover the real causes of your sex addiction and to guide and support you in facing these underlying causes one by one.
Hawaii Island Recovery can help with sex addiction
At Hawaii Island Recovery, we feature experienced counselors who fully understand the dynamics and root causes of sexual addiction. When you come for treatment, counselors will allow you to confront the root causes of your sex addiction in a setting that is nonjudgmental. Not only can Hawaii Island Recovery help you heal, but we will also provide you the tools to overcome sex addiction and lead a healthy and happy life.
Additionally, we offer holistic therapies to facilitate the healing for your mind, soul, and body. You can also enjoy our relaxing therapies like acupuncture, massage, and reiki, and the most sought-after animal-assisted therapy like swimming with wild dolphins and equine therapies. There are also activities for your family, recreational therapy, 12 steps meetings, and a wide range of recreational activities.