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Sexual Addiction - How Psychiatry Can Help Treat It?

Reviewed by
Dr.Sumant Khanna 89% (66ratings)
PHD, MD - Psychiatry, MBBS, MRCPsych, MAMS
Psychiatrist, Gurgaon  •  39years experience
Sexual Addiction - How Psychiatry Can Help Treat It?

While sex is an important part of an adult’s life, it may also come with a number of problems for certain people. Sexual addiction is a problem faced by many and includes a wide range of behavioural patterns when it comes to sex and excessive indulgence in the same. This condition may impact the life of an individual in a significant and even debilitating manner. While many people may confuse this with mere addiction to porn, this is not true. Let us find out more.

Types of Sexual Addiction: There are a number of ways in which sexual addiction may be characterised. As mentioned above, it does not merely include addiction to pornography or any other aspect of sex. It may include an addiction of one or multiple aspects, which include pornography as well. The various forms of sexual addiction include pornography addiction, addiction to fantasy or masturbation, addiction to sadistic behaviour, addition to prostitution, and other excess sexual activities and pursuits like exhibitionism.

Symptoms and Signs: There are a number of physical and emotional symptoms and signs of this condition. The patients suffering from this condition may end up isolating or alienating their partners, which is one of the most common giveaways of this condition. They may also go from one relationship to another in no time at all, with multiple partners in many cases. Also, they will not really have healthy relationships with their partners because of their fantasy based perceptions when it comes to sex. The physical symptoms of this condition include falling prey to venereal diseases and infections on a frequent basis, as well as the exposure to unwanted pregnancy in at least 70% of the cases, as per many medical reports. Anxiety, depression and substance abuse are also some of the common outcomes of this kind of addiction.

DIAGNOSIS: Sexuality peaks around 25 in the male and a little earlier in the female, at a time when marriage has not occurred. So it often is due to an increased frequency of masturbation. Sexuality results in an urge which can vary from once a month to a number of times a day. So a diagnosis of sexual addiction is not that easy and many factors have to be considered. The other features of any addiction have also to be met.

Treatment: Sexual addiction and sexual dependency can be treated by first of all treating the physical manifestations of this condition and its symptoms like infections and other ailments. This will be done with the help of medication in most cases. Further, the patient will be put through CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy as well as other forms of sex therapy so that the evaluator or psychologist may find the root cause behind the condition.

This kind of therapy usually follows the route of exhaustive discussions in which the patient will be asked to talk about his or her emotions and problems. These will then be used in order to reprogram the attitude and thinking of the patient. In such cases, the patient will also be encouraged to invest time and effort in the emotional side of a committed relationship so that the dependency on sex may reduce.

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