Sexual addiction is defined by the National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity as the, “engagement in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behavior despite the increasing negative consequences to oneself and others.” Many people question the possibility of an actual addiction to sex, but the disorder is characterized by many of the same traits that constitute other forms of addiction, and these traits include the following:
- The addict is powerless over his or her compulsive behavior
- The addict may want to stop the addictive behavior but is unable to do so
- The addiction is progressive, and the addict must increase sexual behavior to achieve the desired results
- The effects of the addiction worsen and start impacting others
- The addict is ashamed of the addiction and will often try to keep it secret
What Is the Relationship between Sexual Addiction and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that causes the individual to experience recurring thoughts, irrational fears and anxiety. OCD is characterized by behavior of repeated rituals that are beyond the individual’s control. These rituals can be seen as a coping mechanism. By obsessing over a ritual the individual is receiving temporary relief for uncontrollable feelings of anxiety. Mental illnesses such as OCD often result in an addiction to sex, drugs or alcohol, because the individual is attempting to self-medicate or minimize emotional and psychological pain. Sexual activity can lead to an increase in endorphins and hormones that produce feelings of pleasure and euphoria. An individual struggling with OCD and anxiety may constantly seek this sense of escape, resulting in an addiction.
Is There Treatment for Sexual Addiction and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
For individuals suffering from both OCD and sexual addiction, there is a specialized form of treatment available. This treatment is called integrated treatment. What distinguishes this form of treatment from the others is that a team rehab professionals works on both disorders at the same time. These professionals understand how each disorder interacts with the other. Because each disorder perpetuates the other, it is necessary to treat both conditions simultaneously.
What Are the Consequences of Untreated Sexual Addiction?
If left untreated, sexual addiction can lead to consequences such as the following:
- Despair: The inability to feel satisfied resulting in hopelessness, powerlessness, self-hatred, remorse, intense anxiety, moral conflict and even thoughts of suicide
- Relationship problems: Broken marriages and relationships, issues with trust, fear of abandonment, loneliness and intimacy issues
- High risk of health problems: HIV, STDs or unplanned pregnancy
- Masked co-occurring mental health issues: Obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, narcissistic personality disorder, bipolar disorders and substance abuse
- Legal problems: Sexual harassment charges, rape charges, job termination or lawsuits
- Financial problems: Compulsively spending money to satisfy the addiction
Get Help for Sexual Addiction and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Now
If you are struggling with a sexual addiction, you know how real the disorder is. We specialize in connecting people with the treatment programs they need. To learn more about sexual addiction or OCD treatment programs, call our toll-free number now. Our counselors are available day and night to assist you in finding the recovery solutions that are right for you.