Hypersexuality, Addiction, and Dual-Diagnosis

by AdamS on October 4, 2012

Substance abuse and sex addictions, for some people, can go hand in hand. Hypersexuality can be defined as a dysfunctional obsession with things revolving around thoughts of and pursuit of sexual behaviors. The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity has defined this type of addiction as taking part in obsessive and increasing patterns of sexual behavior carried out despite the potential for harm to themselves or others. Because of their familiarity for addictive behavior, it is not uncommon for individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol to compensate for feelings of shame over their obsession with sex.  Many seek treatment for dual-diagnosis and co-occurring conditions to deal with their combination of illnesses.

False Assumption Of Sex Addicts

When people think of a sex addict, they often think of individuals that have what seems like a strange compulsion toward certain fetishes and paraphillic arousal. However, this type of addiction doesn’t necessarily have to do with who or what the addict finds arousing, but rather the objectification of themselves or others sexually in order to manage triggers that prompt them to act out their compulsion. Contrary to what many people think, sex addicts don’t repeatedly utilize sex in order to ease feelings of inadequacy, depression or shame.

Sex Addiction Versus Substance Addiction

Hypersexuality falls into the category of process addictions; others including exercise addictions, gambling, and compulsive eating. As a process addiction, sex addicts will fulfill much of their obsession with the pursuit of sexual activity that does not always result in intercourse. People with substance addictions often develop a physical dependency that if not satisfied, has negative bodily repercussions like withdrawal symptoms. Sex addicts are addicted to the chemical and dissociative high that takes place inside the brain. The origin of their addiction comes from an extreme sexual desire along with ritualistic patterns.

Why Get Treated?

As previously stated, hypersexuality is often carried out despite negative consequences; this encompasses most of the reasons why people get treated for this addiction. People might start to develop health conditions, financial troubles, relationship problems or even issues with the law that force them into treatment. Frequently, people seek treatment when their addiction has created a crisis in their life, such as a job loss or the contraction of a sexually transmitted disease.

Although there is no proof that hypersexuality is a clinical mental disorder, it is something that the public is becoming increasingly aware of. Some in the medical field believe that this consciousness has to do with the increased accessibility to pornography, the development of 12-step programs that are dedicated to helping people with this issue, as well as the greatly publicized sexual addictions of notable people in the government and celebrities in the media. While some do get sex addiction treatment along with substance abuse in a detox and rehabilitation center, people can also go to counseling or therapy if they are struggling with just this one problem.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: