Does Sex Addiction Recovery Involve Withdrawal Symptoms?

Category : Getting Help

Does Sex Addiction Recovery Involve Withdrawal Symptoms?Sex addiction is a true addiction, but it does not involve physical dependence on a substance and will not produce withdrawal symptoms. However quitting any addictive behavior can be an unsettling experience which may lead the recovering addict to think that he or she is experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Sex Addiction Is Real

There is some controversy among treatment professionals regarding the nature of sex addiction and whether or not a person can really be addicted to sex. Some experts still maintain that true addiction must include physical dependence on an addictive substance. However the general consensus is that addiction to behaviors such as sex, gambling, shopping or any behavior is possible. Addiction involves repeatedly or compulsively engaging in destructive behavior despite negative consequences. Under this definition obsessive or compulsive sexual behavior certainly qualifies as addiction.

Sex Addiction versus Physical Dependence

There is a difference between addiction and physical dependence. Many people use the terms interchangeably, but this is incorrect. For instance many people think they are addicted to caffeine, when in reality they are dependent on it. Dependence produces withdrawal symptoms when use of the substance is stopped. In the case of caffeine dependence the withdrawal symptoms are mild but exist nonetheless. People who are dependent on caffeine will usually feel anxious, irritable and lacking in energy, until they get their morning cup of coffee. Drugs such as heroin produce much more serious and noticeable withdrawal symptoms, but the principle is the same. Withdrawal symptoms occur when the body does not receive the substance on which it has become dependent.

Addiction, on the other hand, is a psychological condition that manifested in destructive behavior. A true addict becomes preoccupied and obsessed with the object of the addiction, and this substance or behavior takes over his or her life and causes many serious problems. A person who is dependent on caffeine will not be compelled to lie, steal or sell their personal belongings to get a cup of coffee. A person who is a true addict will do whatever it takes to satisfy the addiction, even when it involves seriously detrimental consequences. Sex addicts may suffer damage to their personal and professional lives as a consequence of addiction. They may damage their careers, become estranged from their families and suffer legal consequences including possible prison time. However they do not suffer physical withdrawal symptoms.

Addiction involves behaviors that can become habitual and as a result are hard to change. Addiction also often satisfies an inner need or masks a co-occurring mental health concern, and during recovery the sex addict is likely to feel any number of unpleasant emotions that may even manifest themselves in physical symptoms such as restlessness, nausea or insomnia.

Questions about Sex Addiction, Treatment or Recovery?

If you have any questions regarding sex addiction, or if you would like help finding the best treatment for sex addiction, call us. Our number is toll free, and we are available 24 hours a day.