From a Constant Craving to True Liberation
Table of Contents
Sex addiction, also known as compulsive sexual behaviour, is a complex and often misunderstood disorder characterised by persistent and escalating patterns of compulsive sexual behaviours, thoughts, fantasies, and desires that interfere with an individual’s daily life, relationships, and overall well-being. It is estimated that approximately 3-6% of the adult population is affected by sex addiction. While it is not widely recognised as a problem, sex addiction can harm our everyday lives, careers and relationships, similar to gambling and exercise addictions.
If you are experiencing intense desires or cannot control your sexual behaviours, you might suffer from a compulsion.
With the right support and treatment from our healthcare professionals, you can overcome compulsive sexual behaviours and improve your mental and professional wellbeing. Speak to our experienced team today to learn about the treatment programmes available for you.
How Sex Addiction Differs from Other Types of Substance and Behavioural Addiction?
The DSM-5 does not formally recognise sex addiction. Instead, it is classified under the broader category of “Impulse Control Disorders” by the American Psychiatric Association. On the other hand, substance use disorders are well-established diagnostic categories in the DSM-5, with specific criteria for each type of substance.
This relates to the similarities between porn and sex addiction and the relationship between abnormal sexualisation and many other mental disorders. While this is not the most commonly used guide in the UK, compared to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), it still affects the treatment practices across the country. ICD-11 defines sex addiction as “Compulsive sexual behaviour disorder“.
Defining a behavioural addiction requires more process-related testing and further investigation than substance addictions. Many substances cause physical dependence, which is not valid for process addictions.
During your assessment with our specialists, we will ask you many questions regarding your outlook on intercourse, relationships and how you handle stress. They will help us identify harmful habits and behaviours that may affect your therapy and counselling for sex addiction. Your honesty during these first meetings is vital to our shared success.
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Signs and Symptoms of Sex Addiction
Recognising the signs and coming to terms with a problem is the first step towards change. Enjoying sex or having an active sex life is not a problem, and it’s important to recognise the difference between healthy sex and compulsive sexual behaviours.
How can intimacy be a problem:
- Preoccupation with sexual fantasies
- Engaging in risky sexual behaviours
- Sexualisation of seemingly a-sexual objects and people
- Inability to control sexual impulses
- Multiple sex partners with little emotional connection
- Experiencing negative emotions when unable to engage in sexual activity
- Sexual offences
- Swollen or painful sex organs
- Sexual dysfunction and difficulty maintaining optimal libido
- Sexually transmitted diseases
Although sex addiction is distinct from porn addiction, compulsive masturbation may be a symptom of both conditions.
Causes and Risk Factors
Research has shown that sex addiction often co-occurs with substance abuse and childhood trauma. For instance, studies have found that individuals with sex addiction are more likely to have a history of substance abuse, with rates ranging from 40-80%.
Hypersexuality, previously known as Nymphomania and satyriasis, can be a symptom and a cause. This is valid for conditions such as Klüver–Bucy syndrome, Kleine–Levin syndrome (KLS) or bipolar disorder. Being diagnosed with one of these is a risk factor that might lead you to compulsive or sexual urges and behaviours.
Having a neurological disorder which affects your decision-making or impulsivity can be a cause for hypersexuality and sex-related compulsions.
Childhood trauma and sexual experience has also been linked to the development of sex addiction. Research indicates that those with a history of childhood abuse, particularly sexual abuse, are more likely to develop compulsive sexual behaviours in adulthood. This may be due to using sex as a maladaptive coping mechanism to deal with unresolved trauma and emotional pain.
At CATCH Recovery, we understand the complex interplay between sex addiction, substance abuse and childhood trauma. Our comprehensive treatment approach can help you achieve lasting recovery and improved quality of life.
Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders with Sex Addiction
Co-occurring disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders, are common among individuals with sex addiction. These disorders can exacerbate the symptoms of sex addiction and complicate the recovery process. Therefore, it is often essential to address co-occurring disorders in conjunction with sex addiction treatment to ensure a comprehensive and effective recovery plan.
The impact of sex addiction on mental health is significant, and research indicates that individuals suffering from sexual addictions are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. These mental health issues can further impair decision-making abilities and negatively affect interpersonal relationships, leading to social isolation and a decreased quality of life.
Specialised integrated care for co-occurring disorders allows for tailored treatment plans that address the unique healing methods needed for each condition and their shared effects. This is why we always create a comprehensive treatment programme. Book a free assessment today to learn about the possible therapies available.
How Sex Addiction Affects Relationships and Intimacy
Trust, a fundamental component of any healthy relationship, is often eroded due to sex addiction. Studies have shown that 40% of individuals with sex addiction report a significant loss of trust in their relationships. This loss of trust can lead to emotional disconnection, as partners may feel betrayed and unable to confide in one another.
Infidelity is another common consequence of sex addiction, with research indicating that 30-60% of individuals with sex addiction engage in extramarital affairs. These same sexual behaviours can worsen trust issues and contribute to relationship instability.
If you are aware of your addiction to sex, you may feel shame and guilt about your behaviours, leading to emotional detachment and avoidance of open dialogue. This lack of communication can create a cycle of misunderstanding and resentment between you and your partner.
The prevalence of sex addiction is estimated to be around 3-6% of the general population (Kuzma & Black, 2008), highlighting the potential impact sex addiction has on many relationships. CATCH Recovery’s addiction treatment programmes offer a comprehensive approach to addressing the complex issues surrounding sex addiction, providing you and your partner with the tools and support necessary to rebuild trust, improve communication, and foster emotional connection.
Family and Partner Therapy for Recovering from a Sex Addiction
Sex addiction can significantly impact your family members and partners. Family and partner therapy sessions can provide several benefits, including:
- Improved communication: Work towards mending broken communication between you and your loved ones. We will help you by providing a safe space to express thoughts and feelings and teaching effective communication skills.
- Increased support: Loved ones may feel isolated and alone when dealing with the effects of sex addiction, but therapy sessions can offer a sense of community and support.
- Understanding the addiction: We can help your loved ones better understand the nature of your compulsions and work with them to create a healthier environment for all sides involved. This understanding can increase empathy and reduce blame towards you, but also towards them, as they usually need to take sides and enter arguments.
- Relationship repair: Our counsellors will help you repair, rebuild trust, and reconnect with those you’ve hurt because of your compulsions. Also, help you understand the pain you have suffered from this compulsive sexual behaviour.
- Relapse prevention: We will work with you and your partner to improve your relationships during recovery and prevent relapse. By involving loved ones in the recovery process, you can have a stronger support system, increasing their chances of successful recovery.
Overall, family and partner therapy sessions for sexual offenders can provide many benefits. By involving loved ones in the recovery process, everyone can work together to overcome the challenges associated with sex addiction to build healthier, meaningful relationships.
The Importance of Seeking Professional Help for Sex Addiction
This condition often co-occurs with addictions and mental health disorders, such as substance abuse and major depression. A comprehensive treatment approach is necessary to tackle these co-occurring issues and provide the best chance of recovery. It is essential to access professional help to accurately diagnose and treat the condition.
Undergoing a personalised, holistic programme which utilises evidence-based treatments has been proven effective in treating sex addiction and assisting in preventing further related compulsions. If you want to improve your condition, you can try doing it alone, but misdiagnosing an addiction can harm your efforts. Professional help from mental health professionals is vital for proper diagnosis, addressing underlying issues and providing comprehensive treatment.
As part of our approach to addiction treatment, we offer numerous benefits, including the development of healthy coping strategies, support and accountability, and an overall improvement in well-being and relationships.
CATCH Recovery’s Comprehensive Approach to Sex Addiction Treatment
Addiction is a chronic disease, and long-term recovery is the goal of treatment. We offer ongoing support and aftercare as both are important to ensure long-term recovery success. Taking into account personal history, addiction severity and any co-occurring disorders, we utilise evidence-based therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), to address any underlying issues. This is a crucial aspect of our treatment approach.
Our holistic approach to treatment incorporates various modalities, such as mindfulness practices, yoga and art therapy, to help you heal from the inside out. This ensures you can develop the necessary skills to maintain long-term recovery and prevent relapse.
Types of Treatment for Sex Addiction
It is important to be aware of therapies used for treating addiction before choosing a treatment provider because different therapies can have different levels of effectiveness depending on a person’s addiction and personal circumstances. By understanding the various treatment approaches, you can make an informed decision about the treatment best suited to your needs.
Different therapies may appeal to different people. Some may prefer an abstinence-based approach, while others may be more comfortable with harm-reduction approaches. We can offer an approach that aligns with your preferences.
The Role of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
One of the most common approaches is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which has been proven effective in treating sex addiction. CBT focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviours associated with sex addiction, ultimately helping you develop healthier coping mechanisms and improve your interpersonal relationships.
CBT has been shown to significantly reduce the frequency of sexual compulsivity and improve overall functioning in people suffering from sex addiction. One of the primary focuses of CBT in treating sex addiction is to identify and challenge the distorted thoughts and beliefs that drive compulsive sexual behaviours. Through cognitive restructuring, sex therapists and individuals learn to replace these maladaptive thought patterns with healthier, more adaptive ones, reducing the urge to engage in compulsive sexual activities.
CBT emphasises the development of effective coping strategies to manage triggers and stressors associated with sex addiction. These strategies may include mindfulness techniques, assertiveness training, and problem-solving skills, which help individuals resist the urge to engage in compulsive sexual behaviours and maintain their recovery. By improving communication skills, individuals can better express their needs and emotions, fostering healthier relationships and reducing the likelihood of relapse.
Group Therapy for Sex Addiction
We know that speaking up about your problem is challenging, which is why many don’t get treatment on time. This is why we also recommend group therapy for process addictions. It provides a supportive environment for individuals to share their experiences and learn from others facing similar challenges. Group therapy can help reduce feelings of isolation and shame while fostering accountability and promoting positive behavioural change.
Additionally, 12-step programmes, such as Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA), offer a structured approach to recovery, incorporating peer and support groups and a focus on spiritual growth. The role of group therapy in treating sex addiction is multifaceted and offers numerous benefits. Group therapy provides a supportive environment where you can share your experiences, learn from others, and develop coping strategies to overcome your addiction.
Group therapy can be combined with other treatment approaches to create a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to the individual’s needs. This integrative approach is more effective than any single treatment modality alone.
The Goals of Treatment
Treating compulsive sexual behaviours is a complex process requiring long-term dedication and life changes. However, we at CATCH Recovery offer comprehensive, evidence-based treatment options, including individual therapy, group therapy, and family support programmes. When you confide in our sex therapist, you confide within a confidential environment where no one will judge you. What we aim to achieve is:
- Limit sexual acts, including phone sex
- Remove the effects of impulse control disorder
- Successfully manage additional addictive disorders
- Rediscover the pleasure of monogamous sexual intercourse
- Improve sexual health awareness
- Treat co-occurring drug addiction
- Limit sexual impulsivity
- Control underlying mood disorders
- Improve personal relationships
- Discover other, healthier ways for sexual expression
- Become in control of sexual thoughts and
- Eliminate obsessive sexual thoughts
- Help treat any long-term negative consequences of your sexual addiction including sexually transmitted diseases and torn relationships
According to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, comprehensive treatment programmes that address multiple aspects of an individual’s life be more effective in promoting long-term recovery.
So, why not start your recovery straight away? Reach out to our team, and let’s begin the healing process right now. We are ready to welcome you as soon as today!