Blog on emotional well being and personal development

Coping with sex addiction

Coping with sex addiction

Sex addiction involves compulsive behaviour despite negative consequences. People with sex addiction have trouble controlling their impulses and find it hard to control their urges.  There’s no standard definition of sex addiction. It hasn’t been recognised as a bona fide disease by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the medical profession’s bible when it comes to mental health, so, instead, there are a dozen or so competing definitions and no two psychotherapists who apply the concept in the same way.

While some may argue that it is not a chemical addiction – like alcohol or heroin – it can be said that it’s a “process addiction” – like gambling.  It can have a severe impact on a person’s life, but key bodies, such as the American Psychological Association (APA), have not yet established it as a diagnosable condition.

Typical behaviors include compulsive masturbation, persistent use of pornography, exhibitionism, voyeurism, extreme acts of lewd sex, and the failure to resist sexual impulses.

The causes of sexual addiction remain unclear.

Addiction takes root in the reward center of the brain. It may occur when certain parts of the brain mistake pleasure responses for survival mechanisms.

The midbrain is the section of the brain that handles the body’s reward system and survival instincts. As sexual activity creates a rush of dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical in the brain, this triggers the feeling of pleasure. The midbrain then mistakes this feeling of pleasure as being central to survival.

Causes of sex addiction

The causes of sexual addiction remain unclear.

Addiction takes root in the reward center of the brain. It may occur when certain parts of the brain mistake pleasure responses for survival mechanisms.

The midbrain is the section of the brain that handles the body’s reward system and survival instincts. As sexual activity creates a rush of dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical in the brain, this triggers the feeling of pleasure. The midbrain then mistakes this feeling of pleasure as being central to survival.

One possibility is that, in people with sexual addiction, the frontal cortex, or the brain’s center of logic and morality, is impaired by the midbrain.  A person with sexual addiction is more likely to have been abused than other people. A significant number of people recovering from sexual addiction have reported some type of addiction among family members. It can occur alongside another addiction.

Treatment of sex addiction

Addiction can be difficult to treat, as a person with an addiction will often rationalize and justify their behaviors and thought patterns. People with a sex addiction may deny there is a problem. Current treatment options aim to reduce any excessive urges to engage in sexual relations and to encourage the nurturing of healthful relationships.

The support of friends and family is crucial for a person recovering from an addiction. Sexual addiction, due to its behavioral nature, can be difficult for others to understand and tolerate, especially if it has already led to damage in relationships.

However, a strong support network helps to reduce destructive behavior and the risk of relapse.  Cognitive Behavioural therapy can be usefu; for sex addiction as it can help to break old ways of thinking and cognitively restructure the brain, forming healthier associations.

Mandy X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/8995815/Why-theres-no-such-thing-as-sex-addiction.html

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/182473.php



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