While alcoholism has been acknowledged as an addiction for years, sex addiction is a concept that is not as familiar and is often misunderstood. While a small percentage of Americans have been identified as having a sex addiction, some research suggests that the number is actually larger, because many people do not explore their addiction until it becomes glaringly obvious. Some people feel sex addiction is not as harmful as addiction to a chemical substance, but the ramifications of sex addiction are similar in that sex addicts may still experience the following problems:
- Damage to their marriages and relationships
- Deterioration in their job performance, which may impact their livelihood
- Potential physical danger to themselves and their partner through multiple sexual exposures
- Psychological distress
Signs of Sex Addiction
When attempting to diagnose a person as a sex addict, a medical professional will look to see if the person possesses the following symptoms:
- Frequently engages in an activity compulsively for an extended period of time
- Consistently desires the behavior and has failed to control the behavior
- Being consumed by the pattern of seek, performing, and recovering from the behavior
- Being preoccupied with the behavior even to the point of ignoring responsibilities
- Choosing to pursue the behavior at the expense of social, occupational, and recreational activities
- Continuing the behavior even after it has become apparent that the behavior is causing financial, psychological, or physical problems
- Escalating need to increase intensity or frequency of behavior to achieve the desired effect
How Alcoholism Works
Unlike sex addiction, alcoholism is something that most Americans are familiar with. As one of the most prevalent addictions alcoholism gets a great deal of attention and is responsible for much distress. Alcoholism has a strong physical impact. Alcohol is absorbed in the stomach, enters the bloodstream and goes to all the tissues in the body. Some of the key symptoms of alcoholism are as follows:
- Rationalization. If a person has a frequent explanation for why she is consuming alcohol, this is a clear risk indicator. There is no medical or psychological condition for which alcohol is a solution.
- Denial. As with all forms of addiction denial plays a powerful role in helping a person avoid recognizing that he has a problem. Denial often goes hand in hand with rationalization and justification; it takes hold of a person’s ability to think clearly about the problem.
- Dependence. When a person feels that she needs to consume alcohol, this is where the physical and psychological dependence comes into play. A person has a sincere belief that she must drink to make herself feel better.
Sex Addiction and Alcoholism
Addictions in all forms have similar symptoms. While recovering from addiction may have different protocols based on the specific addiction, in all cases an addict needs to get help. When people suffer from more than one addiction, it is important to get help from professionals who are experienced in treating people with co-occurring conditions. A co-occurring problem means an addict is struggling with more than one addiction or with an addiction and a mental health issue.
Finding Help for Sex Addiction and Alcoholism
There is a strong relationship between sex addiction and alcoholism, and we can help you break the ties by helping you find integrated treatment. Please call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about integrated treatment. We are here to help.