The qualities and characteristics of sex addiction
Sex addiction is talked about a great deal by the press but is often misunderstood. A person with a high sex drive or adventurous sexual tastes isn’t necessarily a sex addict. Like all addiction, sex addiction is fuelled by compulsion. A person living with sex addiction cannot control their behavior and will take considerable risks to achieve their ‘high’. Sex addiction gets worse over time and addicts will need to intensify their addictive behavior to achieve the same results.
The affinities with other addictions
Like alcoholism, drug addiction and gambling addiction – sex addiction can have a devastating effect on both the individual and their family. The need to persist in sexual activities that hold negative consequences can escalate to the point of taking over a person’s life. They may lose interest in work and social activities. Relationships begin to suffer, and both physical and psychological health can be affected.
All addictions are extremely complicated and can develop because of a wide range of factors. Sexual addiction is no different in its difficulty and intricacy. Although research on sex addiction is currently being carried out, there are no definitive reasons for its existence. But the following could certainly be factors:
- Psychological factors like childhood abuse and mental health problems. Historical issues including things that happened during childhood can contribute to some of sex addiction’s underlying characteristics. It’s quite common for people living with sex addiction to also experience anxiety and depression. And people with bipolar disorder are more likely to take part in risky and excessive sexual behaviours.
- Biological reasons can also play a part in sexual addiction. It’s possible that a person can have a genetic predisposition to destructive behaviours, as well as traits associated with sex addiction including anxiety and depression. Higher levels of sex hormones like testosterone and oestrogen can also support and help drive compulsive behavior.
- Social factors such as rejection and isolation. For some people, rejection in relationships and their social circle can lead to destructive ways to find sexual gratification. Being or feeling alone is another risk factor, as is being exposed to other people who engage in excessive and dangerous sexual activity. This can normalise the behavior and make it acceptable.
Treating sex addiction
It’s important to understand that sex addiction can be successfully treated. It can be challenging and difficult – but if a person is able to accept their sex addiction, there is definitely an opportunity to move on from it.
There are several kinds of therapy commonly used to treat sex addiction. These include one-to-one therapy with a mental health professional, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) that aims to use behavior, emotion and thought to change negative ideas to positives and group therapy to offer empathy in the knowledge that you are not alone. Couple and marriage counseling can be effective for sex addicts in a relationship and 12-step recovery based on AA’s philosophy is another option.
Residential rehab and sex addiction
Many people living with sex addiction don’t immediately consider the option of residential recovery. The association between rehab and sex addiction is not as strong as it is between rehab and alcohol and drug addiction. But there are huge benefits in focusing on the healing process away from the distractions and temptations of everyday life.
Step One Recovery is here to help
At Step One Recovery, we understand just how difficult it is to come forward and get help for sex addiction. We do everything we can to make your admission into our recovery centre as easy as possible so that you can concentrate on getting better.
We believe that rehab for sex addiction is a positive way forward that maximises your chance of real recovery. As soon as you arrive, we’ll develop a bespoke treatment plan that includes a range of therapies to help you make positive associations with sex. Ultimately, we’ll support you in developing a healthier approach and attitude towards sex so that you don’t need to give sex up forever and can look forward to the future.
Love addiction and co-occurring conditions
We’re also able to treat love addiction at the Step One Recovery centre. This crippling disorder is usually characterised by controlling and obsessive behavior, but with the right treatment it can be overcome. It’s relatively common for other conditions to co-occur with sex addiction including anxiety and depression. At Step One Recovery, we believe in treating the whole person so you can rest assured we’re highly experienced in treating these disorders too.