What to Do If Your Friend Is a Sex Addict

Category : Getting Help

What to Do If Your Friend Is a Sex AddictThere is controversy surrounding the existence, definition and nature of sex addiction. Some psychologists believe that it may not qualify under their definition of an addiction. Others may point to brain scan research that shows similarities between the minds of drug addicts and those who engage in other types of addictive compulsive behavior such as gambling or pornography. Some experts define addiction as a cyclical pattern of maladaptive behavior that compels the addict to continue that behavior despite its adverse effects, whether or not there is a drug involved. Under this definition, compulsive sexual behavior may be classified as addiction.

Signs of Sex Addiction

It can be difficult to determine who fits the definition of a sex addict. With drugs or alcohol, the presence of withdrawal symptoms can be proof of addiction, but such concrete proof does not often exist for sex addiction. Many people may have sexual issues of some kind, may adapt in unhealthy ways or may develop habits that seem abnormal, but these indicators do not necessarily define them as sex addicts.

Sex addiction can also be difficult to define because of differing opinions about what constitutes normal behavior. Morality regarding sexual activity can be subjective and one’s sense of morality is often formed as a result of social conditioning. People from different areas or age groups can have very different morals regarding sexuality, promiscuity, and what constitutes normal behavior. When considering another’s sexual behavior, it is beneficial to try to be objective and remember that the presence of behavior that you may consider abnormal does not necessarily indicate that he is psychologically unhealthy.

Treatment for Sex Addiction

When seeking treatment for sex addition, it is beneficial to consider how the behavior is causing damage to the addict or to others. Under the above definition of addiction, treatment should be sought only if the person cannot control his behavior despite negative consequences. Unless there is clear criminal behavior involved, it can be helpful to enlist the counsel of a therapist or psychologist to determine what treatment steps are needed.

Treatment for sex addiction often follows the model of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. 12-step programs, psychological counseling and support groups can be successful ways to treat sex addiction. For severe cases, more intensive inpatient treatment options are available.

Finding Treatment for Sex Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with sex addiction, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to help answer your questions about addiction and treatment. Please call now.