Addictions, by definition are behaviours that a person engages in compulsively, despite knowing that they will result in harmful consequences on some level.
An addiction is not the same as a habit, as it has both a psychological as well as a physical component. Addiction is a disease, not a choice, and it is not an excuse for bad behaviour. Sometimes, as in sex addiction, it can grow out of very normal, typical and even desirable human behaviour. This is also the case with food addictions, where food consumption becomes a compulsive behaviour.
With any type of addiction, treatment of the psychological issues driving the behaviour is critical for true recovery. It is possible to stop a compulsive behaviour for a period of time, but without treating the root cause of any distorted thinking, the behaviour will resurface again - either as the original addiction or in another form.
What is Sex Addiction?
As with the general definition of addiction, sex addiction is a compulsive behaviour characterised by both recurring thoughts as well as acts. The acts may be physical in nature, such as having certain sexual partners or engaging in specific sexual acts, or they can include watching internet porn or engaging in online or telephone discussions.
When classed as an addiction these kinds behaviours are compulsive in nature. The individual understands that doing the behaviour has potentially negative consequences - such as public arrest, loss of employment or loss a relationship - but the compulsion to carry out the behaviour overrides the consequences. Or through distorted thinking, the individual is able to rationalise or justify the risk associated with the behaviour.
Not all sex addiction is violent or results in the person engaging in other high-risk activities, but some individuals may escalate their behaviour, continually needing increased risk to satisfy the chemical release in the brain that brings the "feel good" experience.
Generally those with a sex addiction do not see sexual partners as romantic interests. They are strictly interested in the specific sexual act, which makes it very difficult for spouses and committed partners to understand this type of addiction. Often the sex addict has limited sexual intimacy with their partner at home, which creates further stress within the relationship.
Treatment Options are Effective
Psychotherapy can be very effective in the treatment of sexual addiction; as with any addiction, there are often underlying issues affecting the addict that need to be addressed, before healthy and positive coping mechanisms can be developed.
Many sex addicts have a history of abuse - sometimes sexual and often physical - that occurred in their childhood. Many have significant trauma in their lives and come from a dysfunctional family, where addiction and co-dependency were part of the childhood experience.
A significant number of people with sex addiction also have other addictions or mental health diagnoses. It is not uncommon for there to be issues with alcohol abuse, drug abuse, depression, anxiety and trauma.
Mayfair Therapy Practice provides a comprehensive treatment plan for individuals with sex addiction and any concurrent mental health conditions. With help from our compassionate, experienced and highly trained counsellors and psychotherapists, clients can get the help they need to start moving from addition to recovery, and begin rebuilding their relationships.
Contact us by email or call us on 07809 668193 to find out more, and to arrange contact with one of our addiction recovery specialists.