From a clinical classification standpoint, a sex addiction often mirrors a gambling addiction in that the sufferer is acting out on behavior impulses as opposed to taking a substance to get high. However, as with any addiction, a person who has a sexual compulsion problem is still seeking to find a way to alter their brain chemistry by tapping into the pleasure centers of the mind. As a behavioral disorder, a sexual addiction can be treated through specific types of recovery programs.
Just because a person enjoys having sexual relations or looks forward to intimacy with their partner, it does not make them a sexual addict. These are normal parts of a healthy relationship. It’s when those thoughts and actions begin to consume too much of a person’s daily routine that it becomes a cause for concern. One of the early indicators of a sexual addiction is a person who spends a lot of time involved in sexually related actions like looking at pornography online or searching through classified ads for sex partners.
Signs of a Sexual Addiction
The sex addict then becomes involved with acting out on these thoughts by getting involved with multiple sexual partners simply for the physical gratification and not the intimacy involved. They are constantly seeking out variations of sexual contact to satisfy their urges. The need to fulfill these urges can ultimately take over much of their lives. The sex addict can end up neglecting their work, school or family. When they can’t find the gratification they are looking for, a sex addict can become increasingly irritable.
There are also many negative costs associated with a sexual addiction such as putting one’s own physical health at risk. This is also a concern for the spouse of a sex addict who might have a STD transferred to them. Because of the pursuit of sexual gratification, often a sex addict has difficulty maintaining any type of relationship.
Getting Help for a Sex Addiction
There is help available for a person who is struggling with a sexual addiction. The same kind of 12-step program used to treat alcoholics and drug abusers has been adapted for sufferers of a sexual addiction. The foundation of these types of groups is to find common bonds among other addicts and work together as a group and with a sponsor to help an addict control their urges.
The productive work that can be accomplished in a 12-step program works best if it is done in conjunction with ongoing therapy. With a certified therapist, a sex addict works on understanding the nature of their addiction and developing behavior modification programs to control the impulses.
Finally, there are qualified rehabilitation centers around the country which specialize in the treatment of sexual addictions. At these centers, a sufferer can check in for an extended stay to help focus on their issues and create a thorough recovery regime.
You can find out about all these treatment options by calling the toll-free number on this page. Dedicated counselors are standing by to answer any questions.