With the psychological community of professionals around the world, there is an ongoing debate about the classification of sex addiction as a mental health disorder. For the individual struggling with the addiction, the classification as to the type of addiction is irrelevant; there is only the desire to move from addiction to recovery.
Sex addiction, as with all other forms of addiction, has a negative impact on the individual's life. In fact, that one issue is a key element to any addiction, but with sex addiction this can very quickly move to a life-threatening situation if high-risk types of sexual behaviours are involved.
In addition to controversy in the mental health community about sex addiction, there is also a considerable misunderstanding about the addiction within the general population. To be sex addiction the behaviour is compulsive and, although the individual understands it is damaging and harming to self and others, he or she feels powerless to control the urges to engage in the behaviour.
Sex addiction is not an excuse to engage in sex with multiple partners. It is not a choice, and it is not something that the individual can control. Instead, just like a drug or alcohol addiction, it slowly takes over all aspects of the individual's life.
For most people, sex addiction develops over time and changes as the addiction progresses. Just as a drug addict keeps looking or new and more powerful drugs and as an alcoholic needs to drink more to feel the mind-numbing effects, sex addicts may also feel the need to increase their behaviours.
Sex addicts may progress from watching pornography online to engaging in sexual activity with partners outside of the relationship. They may engage in high-risk behaviours such as sex with multiple partners, sex in public places or even sexual activities at work. Despite understanding the risks and the potential consequences of these behaviours, they are compelled to continue to engage in the activities, often despite telling themselves that they will never do it again.
Other people with sex addiction may never change their pattern of addiction, and it may not progress to making physical contact with others. They may become obsessed with online porn or other types of phone sex. This may become all they do, to the extent of losing a job, losing a partner and even losing the ability to spend time with their children.
Recovery Is Possible
At Eating Disorder & Addiction Specialists Group, we treat sex addiction on an individual basis. We understand the complexities of this addictive behaviour and work through our holistic and integrated treatment options to assist clients in developing an understanding of the addiction as well as effective coping strategies.
Often with clients that have a sex addiction there are underlying mental health issues that are driving the behaviour. Through psychotherapy and counselling, Philippe Jacquet can work with the client to uncover past trauma, anxiety, depression or other mental health issues that co-exist with the addition.
With treatment of these underlying conditions, recovery is possible, as is the ability to rebuild relationships and move forward.
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