Addiction can happen to anyone and is not restricted to drugs and alcohol. Many people struggle with addictive behavior. Sex addiction, also known as hypersexual disorder, is a condition manifested by fantasies that consume excessive amounts of time and affects many components of a person’s life.
Hypersexual behavior damages relationships with loved ones. It interferes with family time, destroys marriages, and can create financial problems. The urge for sexual gratification takes priority over responsibilities, special events, and can affect job productivity.
According to an article for Psychology Today, “Hypersexuality becomes problematic when it causes significant distress to an individual or puts them at risk of harming themselves or someone else.” A person with sex addiction will pursue gratification at any cost through pornography, online sex forums, prostitution, or sex hotlines. Sex addiction lacks an emotional and intimate component and fulfills a psychological need to relieve depression, anxiety, or tension. At Fort Behavioral Health, we can help.
What Are the Health Risks of Hypersexual Behavior?
Hypersexual activities can be detrimental to physical and mental health. A person with sex addiction can be exposed to sexually transmitted diseases such as:
While some of these diseases can be treated, there is a risk of long-term effects or even death.
Causes of Hypersexuality
Addictive behaviors are often fueled by underlying mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. The addicted brain is deficient in dopamine receptors. Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, wrote an article on sex addiction for PSYCOM, which states, “Addictions, whether they manifest in compulsive gambling, shopping, substance abuse or sexual acting out, is rooted in the desire to escape emotional pain. The distraction of the pleasurable event becomes harmful when the person’s impulse control abilities are not sufficient to lessen or curtail the activity.”
As with most addictive behaviors, hypersexuality usually stems from a root cause. Possible causes for hypersexuality can include:
- Biochemical imbalances – There is research that indicates that compulsive behaviors may be linked to imbalances of certain chemicals in the brain, known as neurotransmitters.
- Changes in neural pathways – Neural pathways, the complex wiring of the brain, can become altered as a result of compulsive sexual activity. These changes make it more difficult to overcome the addiction due to unpleasant reactions when they try to stop.
- Childhood abuse – Some data indicates that individuals with an addiction to sex have a history of being abused during childhood.
Treatment Is Available
Some people turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Understanding psychological and emotional issues will help reveal reasons for the unhealthy relationship to sex. In treatment, the patient learns to redirect these feelings into healthy behavior and view sex as an intimate, loving activity. Treatment helps heal relationships with loved ones through individual counseling, addiction therapy programs, and group therapy.
Let Fort Behavioral Health Be Your Ally
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction or addictive behavior, you are not alone. Treatment at our behavioral health treatment center is available and can be tailored to suit your specific needs. Get help from Fort Behavioral Health today to restore your health and renew your spirit. Our team is ready to guide you to a healthy sober lifestyle.
Our Fort Behavioral Health team can equip you with the tools for long-lasting recovery. Depending on your needs, we can provide medically supervised detox, as well as residential programs for adults and adolescents alike. Our programs are abstinence-based and combine a 12-step approach with a strong mental health component, integrating cutting-edge techniques such as:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
- EMDR therapy program
- Somatic experiencing program
- Motivational interviewing program