Grief Is Normal And Healthy
Discovering a spouses sex addiction is a deep emotional blow. The mind is wracked with the stress and anxiety of doubt and questioning and the heart is overwhelmed by pain and fear. While some spouses may react with rage, others find themselves numb. There is no one right response to such a situation.
The first thing to understand is that your emotionswhatever they might beare both valid and healthy. Regardless of how your spouse may try to downplay the issue or invalidate your concerns and emotions, you must allow yourself to feel your feelings. Sex addiction is betrayal at a deep level, whether or not intercourse with another partner has taken place. In order to deal with the issue, you will be best helped by allowing yourself to grieve.
If home is not a safe place to deal with your grief and your emotions, then make plans to meet with a trusted friend or counselor. Despite the stigma attached to sex addiction and the fears you may have about bringing the issue into the light, dont try to go through this alone. If you dont feel comfortable bringing trusted family or friends into your struggle, seek the guidance of a professional.
Signs Of Sex Addiction
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , which defines and categorizes mental health conditions, doesnt list sex addiction as a mental condition. As a result, signs and symptoms of sex addiction could be challenging to highlight.
Some of the most common indicators that you might have sex addiction include:
- Being unable to stop yourself from engaging in certain sexual behaviors
- Becoming distressed when you are prevented from engaging in sexual activities and behaviors
- Neglecting essential aspects of your life, such as work and personal relationships, to engage in sexual activities and behaviors
- Engaging in risky sexual activities like having sex in public
- Continuing to engage in risky sexual behavior at the expense of your physical and mental health
- Masturbating compulsively and frequently
Recovery And Treatment For Sexual Addiction
- The five components to treatment
- 2. Stopping rituals
- 4. Healing despair
- 5. Healing shame
There is hope for recovery from sexual addiction. Recovery is a process that occurs over time. Recovery and healing are not one-time events. Sexual addiction takes many years to develop and will require time for genuine health to be restored. Its much like losing weight: it takes time to gain weight and will take time to lose it.
Many adjustments will need to be made in order to overcome sexual addiction. Changes include giving up sexual fantasizing and flirting, changes in the way one dresses, getting Internet filters, joining support groups and entering therapy.
Honesty is the foundation to recovery for any addict, and it’s no different for the sexual addict. Healing does not occur if secrets are kept. Recovery will require a willingness and commitment to go the distance. The quality of recovery is directly related to how much effort is made to get well. We can never underestimate the power of prayer in the healing of addictions.
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Effective Coping Strategies For Recovering Sex Addicts
In Canada, approximately six million people , will experience addiction at some point in their lives. Despite the fact that so many are left devastated by this, its still so widely misunderstood, especially when it comes to sex addiction.
Urges to engage in behaviors that are difficult or even impossible to resist are a common part of trying to overcome sex addiction. While many assume that sexual addiction is about the act itself, this is very rarely the case which makes it a complex condition to treat.
While recovery will be a long, slow and challenging process, when done with the assistance of professional help and support from loved ones, it is entirely possible. One of the most important aspects of sex addiction recovery is putting the tools in place to help prevent relapse.
Below we share effective coping strategies for individuals who struggle with sex addiction.
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing
EMDR therapy is often used by professionals to treat a wide range of traumas. Since trauma and addiction often go hand in hand, EMDR therapy can be especially helpful in combating the urge to engage in addictive -related behaviours. Patients are encouraged to focus on a particular traumatic event whilst engaging in rapid eye movements .
The purpose of EMDR therapy is to rewire the brain so that any lingering trauma can no longer harm a persons mental health. Individuals dont necessarily forget the bad experience as such, but rather the negative feelings associated with a difficult or disturbing event tend to reduce in strength. Addressing underlying trauma is an essential element in the treatment of addiction and can have a long-lasting impact on recovery, in this instance, sexual sobriety is the end-goal.
At Tikvah Lake, we treat a whole range of addiction-disorders and other co-occurring mental health problems. Contact the team today to find out how we can help you.
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How Is Sexual Addiction Hypersexuality Treated
Sexual addiction, or hypersexuality, is treated with a combination of medications, psychotherapy and self-help group therapy.
No medication is specifically approved to treat sexual addiction. However, medications that act on your brains urge and behavior hormones and chemicals and that are prescribed for similar medical conditions can be tried. Your healthcare provider will prescribe medications that are best suited for you, considering any other mental health conditions you may have.
Psychotherapy involves a variety of techniques. During psychotherapy, youll talk with a mental health professional wholl help you identify and manage factors that might be triggering your hypersexuality behaviors. Psychotherapy is provided to individuals, as well as to families and couples, since all are affected by an individuals sexual addiction.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of psychotherapy focuses on replacing negative thoughts and behaviors with other ways to better cope and reduce the impulse to have sex.
- Acceptance and commitment therapy. This psychotherapy uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies. Its goal is for individuals to accept distress and to change the relationship with their thoughts rather than changing the thoughts themselves.
- Motivational interviewing. This psychotherapy guides individuals through the process of exploring their sexual addiction in the context of your personal goals and values.
Self-help support groups
How To Overcome Sexual Addiction
This article was co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS. Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin specializing in Addictions and Mental Health. She provides therapy to people who struggle with addictions, mental health, and trauma in community health settings and private practice. She received her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011.There are 18 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 15 testimonials and 92% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 567,451 times.
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What Is Sexual Addiction
Id say the biggest thing that most people dont understand about sexual addiction is that sex addiction isnt about sex. The way that I see it, sexual addiction is more about shame, isolation, adrenaline, and unworthiness than it is about chasing after sexual experiences.
Or, as one SAA member once so eloquently put it in a meeting that I attended, When I act out with sex workers, Im not thinking to myself Oh boy, this is going to be super fun!. But rather, Im thinking I have such a tornado of pain inside of myself that I either have to kill myself or compulsively act out to numb the pain.’
Compulsive sexual behaviour is what sex addicts use to numb out their emotions, just like alcoholics often use staying drunk to avoid feeling their underlying difficult emotions.
The consequences can be fatal. I know sex addicts who have knowingly had unprotected sex with people who had life threatening STIs. Ive met other addicts who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on sex workers, going further and further into debt to fund their compulsive behaviour.
Ive met hundreds of sex addicts and there is no singular unifying theme that connects all addicts at least not in terms of how they like to act out sexually.
In fact, any addictive or compulsive behaviour could be easily categorized with one simple litmus testdo you find yourself consistently doing something that you do not want to do?
Set Boundaries And Follow Through:
Sex addicts have difficulty setting healthy boundaries. Teach your partner what is acceptable in the relationship and what is not. Then, it is your job to keep strong to what you say and follow through. This will be a difficult process, dealing with addiction always is. If you need additional support, book a session with us individual or couples.
Ask A Professional For Help
Many trained therapists and counsellors can help addicts whether they are suffering with a substance addiction or a behavioural addiction. At Addiction Helpline, we are here to answer any questions you may have. We are not here to judge and have dealt with all types of addiction before. You are not the first person to suffer with an addiction to sex and we are sure, you will not be the last. There is no shame in asking for help and we are here to give that to you. We can put you in touch with rehabilitation centres at which you can get the most appropriate treatment for your addiction. Call us today and we will answer your questions and get you the help you need.
Effects Of A Sex Addiction
A sex addiction can cause problems for the sufferer in many ways. One of the main problems is with developing intimacy with a partner. Sex addicts will often find it difficult to maintain long-term relationships.
Sex addictions can also cause major financial problems to those suffering from it and it can affect careers and social relationships as well. Sex addicts often feel that they cannot be loved and this makes them unable to act normally around others. Therefore, relationships with other people, even when not intimate, suffer. The affected individuals often create a false persona for others so that their real feelings and desires are not on show.
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How Do You Know If You Are A Sex Addict
I am going to go over different tells and symptoms of sexual addiction, but I want to preface this by saying the only way you can really know for sure is by seeking out treatment and asking a professional counselor or social worker because ultimately everyone experiences sex addiction in different ways.
Challenges may include but not be limited to:
The Importance Of Motivation
If youve arrived at the conclusion that your sexually addictive behavior is out of control, and you dont seem able to stop it despite negative consequences, but you do want to tackle the addiction and learn a new lifestyle, you already know about the first requirement: motivation. You need to be motivated to go through the process of self-discovery or, in some cases, re-discovery to learn new skills and coping mechanisms, and rebuild your damaged self-esteem, self-respect and self-confidence. Youll also need motivation to repair relationships that have been damaged as a result of your sexually addictive behavior.
One way to remain motivated is to keep your two lists handy and review them often. They can help guide you back on track, especially handy if you have minor set-backs.
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The Five Components To Treatment
According to Mark Laaser,1 author and recovering sex addict, there are five components to treatment and recovery for sexual addiction. They are:
Admitting there’s a problem is the first step to coming out of denial. Once the addiction is admitted, the next step is to stop addictive behaviours. Just as an alcoholic must stop drinking alcohol, a sex addict must stop all sexual acting out behaviours. Sometimes these behaviours are obvious, like no more sex outside of marriage, but sometimes they are subtle, like flirting. Again, this is where honesty with self and others is vital.
Recovery support is essential, because trying to stop these behaviours without the support of God and others is nearly impossible. Addicts learn from other recovering addicts what healthy sexual behaviour is and what it is not. Without help to address the underlying causes that drive sexual addiction, sexual addicts are only able to stop acting out temporarily, and that only because of an enormous amount of willpower. Eventually willpower alone is not enough. Unable to withstand the mental obsession and physical temptations, addicts return to their addictive sexual behaviour. This cycle of control and failure to control is a classic characteristic of addiction.
Remember It Has Nothing To Do With You
Being involved with a partner suffering from sexual addiction causes an emotional rollercoaster. You might feel ashamed or demoralized. You may have difficulty trusting and fear for the relationship. A common feeling for those in the relationship is feeling responsible, not good enough, and self evaluating. Asking What is wrong with me? Am I not good enough for my partner? Once again, it has nothing to do with you!
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Finding Relief At The Dawn
At The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab Thailand, we treat every type of addiction as well as co-occurring disorders. The Dawn employs a unique Twin Pillars approach to treatment, balancing a programme of effective psychotherapies with regular wellness practices like yoga, meditation, and strength training to address root causes of addiction and heal both the mind and body. Our internationally-trained team of specialists will work closely with you from the moment you arrive to develop a customised treatment plan built towards your needs and goals.
If you are not sure of what to do next for your addiction, to learn more about your next steps and how we can support your sustainable recovery.
Mending Shattered Bonds In Marriage
Facing the Truth
Sexual addiction, whatever form it takes, wreaks havoc on a marital bond, and there are few words to describe what one experiences emotionally when they discover their spouse is firmly caught in its grasp. My clinical experience treating couples has continually confirmed that spouses who personally discover or learn of their partners sexual addiction, experience unimaginable emotional chaos.
This chaos can be characterized by powerful emotional responses based on a breach of the marital bond, and reach the level of what is called relational trauma. Reid and Woolley explain, Hypersexual behavior can have a devastating impact on attachments between partners in committed couple relationships. An array of emotions is activated by these attachment ruptures, including feelings of betrayal, confusion, frustration, hopelessness, and abandonment .
As a result, the treatment and recovery of a married couple seeking to heal from such attachment ruptures require that careful attention be paid to treating the traumatic symptoms experienced by the emotionally injured or betrayed spouse.
They additionally describe resulting behavioral-emotional patterns:
Today, we recognize these responses by an emotionally injured spouse as attempts to find safety and security following the most devastating of all traumas: the betrayal of trust.
Love and Hate
The Mending Process
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Why Is Sexual Addiction So Difficult To Overcome
Sexual addiction is one of the most challenging addictions to overcome.
With substance addictions, like alcoholism or drug addiction, it is possible to simply discontinue the use of the substance entirely. But with process addictions like sexual addiction and eating disorders, its impossible to just give up food or sex for life. They are interwoven into the fabric of our being and so the goal is to integrate them into our lives in a healthier way.
But because sexual addiction and compulsive sexual behaviour is just the mechanism that numbs out the difficult emotions that addicts are unwilling to face and heal their way through, the most sustainable way that a sex addict can overcome their addiction is to work through their underlying emotional turmoil that keeps them stuck.
Can Sexual Addiction Or Hypersexuality Be Prevented
Whether or not sexual addiction can be prevented depends on the underlying cause. Sometimes, theres a chemical imbalance in your brain. Or, another health conditions side effect or symptom is hypersexuality. There are many factors that come into play in the development or appearance of a sexual addiction.
But even if you cant control all the factors, you can take some control of some things that might escalate your thoughts, urges, desires and actions. These include:
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Is It Possible To Prevent Sexual Addiction
As the driving forces for sexual addiction seem to be more poor self-esteem rather than excessive thrill seeking, interventions that enhance self-esteem and self-image appear to be key in preventing these disorders. Suggestions for preventing Internet addiction may be useful in the prevention of sexual Internet addiction and include parents educating their children about the dangers of such behaviors, monitoring and limiting computer use, screening out pornographic Internet sites, offering other activities that do not involve computer use, and having a therapist address emotional problems like depression and anxiety, which are risk factors for developing a sexual addiction.