Reaching out for help and treatment regarding a sex addiction feels complicated for those who believe they might be struggling for one. Recovery services like safe transportation are not just for those who feel an impulse to drink. Behavioral disorders and process addictions like sex addiction are obsessive and compulsive issues which can cause as much harm and destruction in someone’s life as chemical substances like drugs and alcohol. The shame and stigma surrounding sex addiction as well as a lack of definitive conditions for a sex addiction to meet, make it even more complicated.
Until recently, sex addiction was considered a real mental health disorder, falling under the category of process disorders. Process disorders, as compared to chemical substance use disorders, create dependency on a process- like sex- as opposed to a substance- like drugs and alcohol. Similar systems in the brain are altered by process addictions as they are with chemical addictions. For example the act of sex, or sexually related acts, produces a wealth of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which creates the feelings of euphoria and pleasure which tell the brain that sex is a preferable activity. Sex addiction can also cause stimulation of serotonin and other feel-good hormones which shift the brain. Most importantly, sexual compulsive behaviors are typically a coping mechanism for underlying issues. Underlying issues can involve anything from co-occurring mental health disorders to trauma and abuse. Whatever the co-occurring issue might be, even if it is a lack of coping skills, they are considerably more painful, or to the brain, less pleasant, than the reward created by sex.
If you are struggling with a compulsive sex issue you feel has reached beyond your control, then your sex addiction is real. Many treatment centers are still providing residential clinical care for people who are finding difficulty in managing their lives.
There are many resources for working through a sex addiction including twelve step groups like Sex Addicts Anonymous, online groups, and small therapy groups. If you don’t seek treatment or therapy of any kind you could face physical, mental, and relational problems. Some have experienced:
If you or your loved one are in need of treatment and don’t know where to start, call Hired Power today. We’re here to help you through every step of the treatment process. For more information, call 800-910-9299.
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