The Reality of Sex Addiction
There is always much debate in the press, on social media and online about the reality of sex addiction.
It was not too long ago that alcohol addiction was seen as the fault of the individual, and not a complex set of chemical changes in the brain that trigger a behaviour. Other recently recognised addictions that are not drug- or alcohol-related include food addictions and eating disorders, as well as gambling or Internet addiction.
It is important for those with a sex addiction and those who care for people with sex addictions to understand that the addiction is not about sex itself. Rather, the addiction stems from an underlying and untreated mental health condition, which can typically be depression, anxiety, stress or trauma.
While not a diagnosis in the DSM-5, sex addiction is very real for people experiencing this pattern of behaviour. Like all addictions it causes an individual to use behaviours that are negative to their wellbeing; this may be engaging in sex in public places, sex with multiple partners or even spending time online surfing pornographic websites, despite knowing they will lose their job if they are discovered.
There are health issues to consider with many types of sexual addiction. Contact with multiple partners can result in an increased risk of developing a sexually transmitted disease, including those that can be life-threatening. Often sex addicts do not seek treatment for the symptoms of a sexual disease, which can put their spouses and partners at increased risk of developing an STD, including HIV/AIDS.
Living with Sex Addiction
Individuals with sex addiction tend to follow the same patterns of behaviour as other addicts. First the individual engages in sexual behaviour, recognising it is potentially dangerous and may result in significant risk or loss of employment, loss of a partner and even health issues.
After the sexual behaviour guilt, shame and even emotional pain and self-loathing become overwhelming. This can lead to isolation, feelings of being inadequate or out of control, as well as the overwhelming need to assure themselves it will not happen again.
Despite this, the sex addict finds there is an irresistible drive to engage in the behaviour again. This may start slowly and becomes more encompassing, eliminating all other thoughts and areas of focus. Once the individual re-engages in sexual behaviour they immediately feel better, but only for a short period of time before the cycle begins again.
Treating Sex Addiction
The experienced and highly trained psychotherapists and counsellors at Addiction Specialist London work with clients in the Mayfair and central London area, experiencing challenges with sexual addiction.
Uncovering the causes of addiction and treating the emotional pain, trauma, depression or anxiety that is driving the behaviour is crucial to recovery. With our confidential, private one-on-one approach, our therapists and counsellors create unique treatment plans tailored to the recovery needs of each client.