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Sex Addiction - Treatment, Symptoms and Causes

What is Sex Addiction?

An estimated 3% to 6% of people in the US suffer from sex addiction also known as hypersexual disorder or compulsive sexual behaviour. Sexual addiction is characterised by the excessive amount of sex and feel distressed as a result. Western psychiatry documents excessive sexual behaviour and has been referred to as Juanism, Satyriasis, nymphomania, excessive sexual drive. Sex addicts find it difficult to control or postpone sexual feelings and actions. They don’t understand how to achieve genuine intimacy, forming little or no attachment to their sexual partners. Eventually this leads to putting sex as their top priority with no regard to other things.

The sex addicts act out on a routine or ritual leading to acting out a person’s sexual desires, which is then followed by feelings of denial then leads to shame, despair and confusion. Treatment for this requires a multifaceted approach which addresses two things: compulsive behaviour and the underlying issues and disorders linked to it. Sexually addicted people crave risk as a factor to escape from emotional pain or ways to cope with stressful lives. People addicted often manipulate, deceive and also want control over their partners. Despite all the negativity this causes, the addict cannot stop.

Causes of Sex Addiction.

There are many causes for sexual addiction to take place. They can be understood in these three factors: biological, psychological and social. Sexual addiction can be linked to the chemical changes in the brain that are linked with this. Research however shows that gender based patterns also affect this, e.g. Males who are more introvert and also highly educated are likely to develop a sexual addiction, and middle-aged women who use a laptop and internet are most likely to be inclined to this.

Psychological risk factors include: depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. A learning disability can also be a cause of it. People with a history of any addictions in the family are also likely to be sex addicts.

Sufferers of these disorders are likely to be isolated, insecure, troubles with relationship stability, low ability to tolerate frustrations and also have a tendency to be unable to cope with emotions. Sexually abused people are also likely to develop sexual addictions.

What is the symptoms of Sex Addiction?

There are several attempts to identify the exact symptoms of sexual addiction. People addicted to sex are also addicted to different kinds of sexual behaviours. This makes it difficult to understand the sexual condition as a whole. This condition stems from obsession as a whole.

These symptoms include:

  • compulsive masturbation

  • multiple affairs, sexual partners, and one-night stands

  • persistent use of pornography

  • practicing unsafe sex

  • cybersex

  • visiting prostitutes or practicing prostitution

  • exhibitionism

  • voyeurism

Behaviors and attitudes may include:

  • Unsucessful in resisting their sexual desires and crossing the boundaries defined by their sexual partners in the process.

  • The act of sex becomes mechanical, ie, having sex fails to satisfy the person emotionally.

  • A constant craving to be in a relationship, or have multiple sexual partners.

  • Feeling distressed after being conscious of their behaviour and unsucessful attempts to change it.

  • The individual repeatedly relapses into the previous state even after being aware of all the consequences.

Treatment of Sex Addiction.

Therapy is the most popular form of treatment for the patients. The goal of therapy is to control the compulsion the patients have so that they can control their urges to engage themselves in sexual activities. These therapies help to develop control and the mental strength to have urges.

There are a few kinds of therapies:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy: It works by helping the patients focus their thoughts and behaviours to another direction. They can be provided with tools and techniques to help control their desires and urges. Cognitive therapy also helps to control relapses and help to develop relations which are normal and healthy.

  • Other therapeutic methods: It can include counselling. Counselling helps to dig deep into the mind and correct the underlying causes which leads to sex addiction. There can be individual and combined counselling sessions.

  • Residential Inpatient Sex Addiction treatment centres: They provide living facilities while receiving treatments, these are located at convenient places where you can be close to your families and keep receiving the treatments.

  • Prescriptions and over the counter medications: It is designed to reduce the impulse of sex, these are quick and easy which help to reduce the urge and also obsessive-compulsive disorders of different kinds.

Prevention to avoid Sex Addiction.

One of the ways to prevent sex addiction is to self realise where you’re going wrong and how to stop yourself from falling into that whole more and more. Engaging yourself into more positive thoughts will help you fight the issue first hand and then seeking for therapy.

Withdrawal symptoms of Sex Addiction.

Even for sex addictions, there are certain withdrawal symptoms that take place. Withdrawals are characteristics of addictions which are caused due to avoiding the addiction. Withdrawals are caused because you stop addiction all together and in case of sex addiction, you completely stop acting on your urges and stop having sex. There can be many withdrawal symptoms of sex addiction and this can vary from person to person but these are the most common symptoms faced by most sex addicts.

  • Irritability

  • Cravings

  • Depression

  • Restlessness

  • Anxiety

  • Guilt

  • Shame

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Content Details
Written By
PhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child Care
Reviewed By
MA Applied Psychology

Table of Content

What is Sex Addiction?
Causes of Sex Addiction.
What is the symptoms of Sex Addiction?
Treatment of Sex Addiction.
Prevention to avoid Sex Addiction.
Withdrawal symptoms of Sex Addiction.
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