Because sex is an activity that promotes the survival of the species, the brain rewards this activity with dopamine. Dopamine creates pleasurable feelings. However, the brain's reward system also makes us vulnerable to addiction. People are not addicted to sex.
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As with all addictions, people become addicted to the brain chemicals released during the substance use or activity in this case, sex , not the substance or activity itself. Certain patterns of sexual behavior fit our definition of addiction. These patterns also fit the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders.
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Examples of these consequences include:. Using in larger amounts, or over a longer time, than intended. For example, purchasing more porn, or viewing porn for increasingly longer periods of time, or with greater frequency. Unsuccessful efforts to cut down. For example, someone knows they stay up too late every night watching porn. They know they need to get to bed earlier and try to set a time limit for watching Internet porn. However, they are unsuccessful and therefore cannot meet their needs for adequate rest. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain or use.
For example, a husband comes home late every night because he stops at a strip joint and masturbates afterwards. Cravings such that much of the day is spent fantasizing about, and anticipating the next opportunity for sexual activity. Use interferes with the ability to fulfill important responsibilities such as partner, parent, and employee.
For example, lying to one's partner about where they have been; masturbating at work while on company time; coming in late to work because of staying up late to watch porn; losing a job because of inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. Continued use despite the harm caused to social or personal relationships. For example, frequent arguments with a spouse about failing to come home at a reasonable time, or arguments about excessive pay-per-view charges on television bill due to porn, 7. Important social and recreational activities are given up or reduced.
For example, not getting home before children go to bed because of hiring sex trade workers, or giving up regular basketball games with friends so that the time can now be spent at the strip club.
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Using in situations that are dangerous. For example, a woman works head in a dangerous section of town as a sex trade worker, having multiple sex partners without practicing safe sex because her customers don't want to use condoms. Another example is a person who engages in dangerous sex practices such as autoerotic asphyxiation.
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Continued use despite physical or psychological problems caused by use. For instance, it is quite common for someone be unable to achieve erection or arousal with real partners due to excessive porn use. As a result, they now take medication e. Sexual addiction also resembles the compulsive quality of many addictions.
This compulsive quality results from a need to reduce the tension of craving. Risk factors for developing a sex addiction include being molested as a child; having bipolar disorder; and distress about one's sexual orientation. The DSM-5 does not yet recognize sexual addiction as a distinct mental disorder. Professionals often use "Other specified sexual dysfunction. The most accurate label would be other specified disruptive, impulse-control disorder. The possibility of repeated involvement with sex, to the detriment of other aspects of life, seems quite possible.
What is confusing about "sex addiction" is that it may include behaviors that many people would not consider especially sexual or enjoyable. The pleasures of addicted sexual activity may also be short-lived. As momentary pleasure subsides, the pursuit begins again. This is similar to the pattern seen in substance addictions. Pleasure eventually gives way to compulsions in an effort to reduce the tension associated with cravings.
Some people enjoy sexual activities that are not considered average or ordinary. This does not necessarily indicate sexual addiction.
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For instance, sexual activity may involve multiple partners or just one. There are also people who consensually engage in polyamory.
Polyamory refers to involvement with two or more partners at the same time, or at different times. While these sexual behaviors may not follow cultural norms, they do not in themselves indicate an addiction. Conversely, there are many people who claim to be polyamorous, who meet the criteria for sexual addiction. Likewise, a high degree of interest or enjoyment of sex doesn't necessarily indicate sexual addiction. If you or a loved one is experiencing any mood disorders, porn or sex addiction, alcohol or drug abuse or other compulsive behaviors or trauma, we can help you find peace and recovery.
Trauma is often a major part of addictive lifestyles and relationships. We have the skills to help you resolve your trauma experiences. I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the therapeutic process while watching individuals make positive changes for the better in their lives. I believe this happens because they are willing to trust me and create a therapeutic relationship where we are able to explore their personal circumstances.
My approach is to delve into underlying issues that are creating problems in their life. I strive to help my clients come away with a sense of harmony so that they can have more peace in their life. Do you have a family member or spouse who is struggling with addiction? If so I can help you. I have specialized training in treating sexual and chemical addiction. I have also been trained in helping partners and parents of an addict achieve their own recovery. In my practice I help individuals, couples, and families cope with depression, anxiety, excessive anger, fear, and grief.
My practice is built on honesty, openess, and accountability. I have the skill set to help individuals find freedom from lifes most difficult challenges. I can help you find healing, peace and happiness. Do you find yourself repeating the same patterns over and over, and wanting to quit? I work with people struggling with betrayal trauma, pornography addiction, depression, anxiety, marriage issues, spiritual identity, faith crisis, mixed faith marriages, and any patterns that keep you from actually being happy.
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I am committed to helping you feel cared for in therapy so that you have the confidence to draw on your own strength and improve the quality of your life. For addicts, male and female, I focus on accountability and teach how to truly connect instead of escaping. I will also provide empowerment for spouses of addicts to help them create healthy boundaries and understand their betrayal trauma.
I will facilitate a full disclosure for the couple, helping the relationship heal and rebuild trust. I am experienced with many marital problems and will help you understand your negative cycles within the relationship preventing you from being close and connected. I work to balance accepting you where you are, and gently guiding you to where you want to be.
I enjoy working with individuals, couples, and families. I help my clients achieve their goals and build healthier relationships. My clients feel accepted and safe in their work with me, which is something I value. I specialize in helping individuals gain tools to reduce the "want" and then find space to understand the "why". If you only have the hope for hope, that is a good enough place to start.
We have trained with the leading experts in trauma and sexual recovery. You've built a life and you dreamt of a future together. Nobody prepares for an unhappy relationship, but it happens.
When you find yourself facing the loss of your relationship due to addiction, infidelity, or just disrepair over time- you want to get the best help available. Working with someone who understands the complexities of relationships and how they are affected by addiction and other issues can make all the difference. Call me today-free minute phone consultation to see how I can help. However, my practice focuses primarily on sexual addiction. If you struggle with sexual addiction, you need someone who understands it and has a plan for your recovery. When someone has cancer, they turn to the specialists in cancer.
It is crucial that you let those who specialize in this disease help you through the many moving parts. I understand this addiction - it's my passion and goal to help as many people as possible! Most of my clients are impacted by sexual addiction - I get it, and I'm here to help you or a loved one through the storms.