Sex addiction is a term used to describe a situation in which an individual does not have control over its sexual behavior. People feel the need to perform sexual acts and get persistent thoughts about it all the time. There are quite a few types of sex addiction such as addiction to pornography, prostitution, masturbation, fantasy, masochistic behavior, voyeurism, etc. The consequences of sex addiction are very negative and affect a person’s ability to perform daily activities. It also puts a bad impact on the relationships and health of the person.
Generally, those who suffer from sex addiction have an abnormally high sexual drive which is sometimes uncontrollable. The term is not exactly a medical condition but often brings dysfunction and distress. If the addiction is not controlled, then it may lead to anxiety and depression. The cause of sex addiction is, however, not known. It is believed that the brain of such people often mistakes the rush of dopamine caused due to sexual acts as a key to survival.
Sex addiction is a real phenomenon and affects the brain in a similar manner to drug or alcohol. People who suffer from the addiction not only crave for sexual acts but suffer from stress, anxiety and depression. Studies state that sex addiction is a real disorder and people suffering from it actually needs help. The condition puts social and personal life, job and health of an individual at risk. However, it is often confusing to differentiate between sex addiction and advanced libido.
A number of signs which point to sex addiction include-
Other related signs associated with sex addiction are feeling of detachment, guilt and shame. A sense of immobilization due to sexual acts is another common symptom associated with sex addiction. Individuals experiencing the above signs should visit a therapist and seek the necessary treatment for sex addiction.
The exact cause behind sex addiction is still not known. However, psychologists believe that various biological, social and psychological reasons are behind it. There may be a genetic tendency in an individual that causes emotional distress which leads to such addiction. Hormones also play a major role in developing sexual behavior. High level of sex-related hormones leads to excessive engagement in sexual acts.
Failed relationships and isolation from society also develop unhealthy sexual behaviors. The environment also influences it and can be another cause of sex addiction. Those who stay in an abusive circle and have excess exposure to sexual content often have such drive. Poor mental health, personality disorder, anxiety and bipolar disorder are some of the other issues that cause sex addiction.
It is not easy to overcome addiction. A person having sexual addiction would find it difficult to bring a change in their thought pattern and behavior. First and foremost, the support of friends and family helps in controlling addiction to sex. Apart from it, counselling and medications can enable an individual to get rid of sex addiction. Therapies can be given to these people in order to bring a change in their behavior.
Sex addiction counseling is generally done in 3 steps, which involves-
During the last stage of counselling-CBT may be introduced, in which the patient is given certain tools and introduced to techniques which help him shift his focus and thoughts away from sex. This type of therapy also helps avoid relapse. In some cases anti-depressants are prescribed as well.
In the process of sex addiction counseling, during the second stage of Action, an addict will go through withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can lead to cravings, strange fantasies, lack of sleep and sex dreams. But with time these symptoms will soon stop and the individual can learn how to manage his addiction.
Post the counseling treatment the addict has to stay honest with himself/herself and his/her family and abstain from sex. Being sexually sober is very important, especially during the first year post treatment. One also needs to work on emotional growth and slowly and steadily repair his/her relationship with family and friends.
During this period it is highly essential that the patient leads a balanced life, both physically and emotionally.
Complete recovery from sex addiction does take quite a long time. Patience with the addict is of utmost importance. Full recovery takes about 3-5 years.
The price depends on the kind of treatment one opts for. Generally, the cost of residence rehabilitation is more as compared to single sessions which range from Rs 1000 to Rs 2500.
First of all, it is necessary to shift your focus from the dependency on something productive that may serve a purpose in life. A person should spend more time with family and friends to get rid of this addiction. All those who suffer from sex addiction should indulge themselves in social things. They can also distract themselves from sexual thoughts by playing sports or going to the gym.
Basically, one can set any hobby as per their interest such as reading books, volunteering for a political cause, listening to music or any other healthy recreation for feeling refreshed. Visiting temple or church, going to bed early at night, meditation & exercise also helps to treat sex addiction at home.
The results are mostly permanent unless the patient suffers from a relapse due to excessive emotional stress.
While sex addiction counseling should be undergone in the case of this problem, patients can adopt the practice of yoga and meditation to keep themselves calm and relaxed.
There are many rehabilitation centers that offer programs for treating sex addiction. Most of the time, 12-step programs such as Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) is being followed in which the patients are motivated to abstain themselves from compulsive behavior and destructive sexual acts. Inpatient treatment programs are run which involves detaching the sex addict from their normal routine for a minimum 30 days. Group therapy sessions are also provided to allow for faster recovery and healing.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is another program to help anyone facing this disorder by teaching them how to change their behavior and thought process. Usually, one-on-one sessions are given to an individual by a therapist who expertise in mental health. Lastly, some antidepressant medications can also help to reduce sexual urges under the course of drug therapy.
Individuals who suffer from sex addiction generally make a conscious attempt at behavior control but usually fail. They go out of their way to obtain sex and this behavior generally comes in the way of their normal life, affecting their work as well as social activities. They can suffer from sudden rate and also tend to be violent by nature.
There is no specific cure available for sex addiction, but treatment is possible and one can manage this problem effectively with proper guidance. Sex therapy and counseling are the best options one can opt for to manage sex addiction. Therapy generally aims to train the individual to control his compulsions so that it does not interfere with his/her normal life.
Sex addiction counseling can be in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication as well as effective education. Patients can either opt for a residential rehabilitation program, go for regular counseling sessions at a clinic or to a private counselor.