I see sex addiction as a prism; dependent upon the angle you hold it up to, it can seem to be completely different.
Dependence to sexual behaviour, sex addiction is a difficult problem that incorporates many aspects of ones own identity.
Bio-chemistry, socio-cultural surroundings, family-of-origin issues thinking/feeling strategies, self worth, and standard of interactions with other individuals.
The complication of addiction to sex is indicated by the idea that psychologists still don’t know if it’s a symptom of an obsessive-compulsive problem, an impulse-control state, or an addictive affection. The fact that it was only lately identified as a distinct disorder shows that hardly any substantial studies have been understand this multi-dimensional health problem.
We understand that sexual addiction presents a manifestation of the same process of addiction that underlie pretty much all compulsive behaviours : a lasting, inordinately resilient tendency to get involved in some kind of pleasure-producing sexual behaviour to control un-needed emotional states that are traumatic and possibly extreme. Also common to all addictions, underlying the manifestation of the sexual behaviour are difficulties with self-care and self-regulation. Attaining a sense of “self-governance” is part of addiction healing treatment .
Being regularly ensnared in the fangs of the addiction cycle (see SAA website for a discussion of the addiction cycle) with its loss-of-control, sense of guilt and worry, and negative impacts on work/relationships/finances/self-esteem, is devastating from the sexual addict’s perspective. Yet the observed benefits have a tendency to make up for the high cost of the behaviour, because you doubtlessly experience the attraction of the sexual rush to be attractive, irregardless of the comprehending outcomes.
Sex Addiction Recovery has to address both the harmful addictive sexual behaviours not to mention the hidden addictive process. The hurdle of the sex addiction healthcare practitioner who gives you a sex addiction treatment program is that of providing a variety of rehabilitation approaches to allow for and care for the addict on a variety of levels. The healthcare practitioner needs to have the solid skill sets of an addiction counsellor together with the psychological refinement to focus on the concealing issues.
Treatment for sex addiction, then, is likely to be achieved when it becomes apparent from an integrated, all-inclusive approach that can bring together many treatment methods, is personally formulated to your characteristics and progresses as you progress .
If addiction to sexual behaviours is the tip of the iceberg, then the psyche deficits, recurring self-defeating patterns, damage from early life associations with caretakers, unconscious challenges and skewed judgment about self and others symbolise the bottom of the iceberg. I suggest that lasting independence from enslaving, out-of-control, embarrassing sexuality will never be gained unless the topics on the underneath of the iceberg are fixed.
Dorothy Hayden, LCSW, has been treating sex addiction for 15 years. With 30 articles and one e-book, “Total Sex Addiction Recovery — A Guide to Therapy”, she is considered a “thought leader” in the field. She has been interviewed by HBO, CNN and “20/20” about cybersex and sex addiction.