While alcohol and drug addiction are commonplace, sexual addiction is also a real problem. This addiction can affect men and women. In many cases, this type of addiction lasts for months before it is diagnosed. A sex addict is a person who uses casual sex to relieve anxiety, tension, feelings of loneliness etc. In some cases, people can get so obsessed with sexual activities and thoughts that it affects their day to day life. This addiction can involve activities that are considered normal and healthy or be focused on activities that are socially frowned upon. It can manifest itself in the form of one night stands, engaging with prostitutes, watching porn excessively etc. Thankfully, as with any other kind of addiction, sexual addiction can be treated.
It is not easy to diagnose a sex addict as this form of addiction has many stages. Some of the symptoms a sex addict professional looks out for are:
Intense sexual urges.
Abnormal sexual activities.
Difficulty connecting with people emotionally.
The use of sex as an escape from uncomfortable situations etc.
Irresponsible sexual behaviour.
Hence, the first step to coping with sexual addiction is for the patient to visit a doctor and accept that he or she has a problem. Many addicts do not realise they have a problem and lie to both themselves and their partners about the addiction. For example, most sexual addicts tell themselves that they watch porn only occasionally and that is simply harmless fun.
Once diagnosed, an addict needs positive motivation. Humiliation or looking down on the person because of his or her habits may worsen the situation instead of helping the person. Overcoming an addiction to pornography, voyeurism, phone sex, compulsive masturbation etc require intense effort and for this the person needs to feel that the people around him support him.
The patient and his loved ones also need to recognise the symptoms of the addiction. For example, if a person tends to watch pornography at night, he needs to ensure that he is occupied with something else until the urge to watch it goes away. In achieving this he may need the help of the people he lives with.
In some cases, psychotherapy may also be required to treat sexual addicts. This can be in the form of both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. Psychotherapy takes the form of both one on one counselling sessions and group exercises.