Sexual Addiction and Substance Abuse

The term “sex addict” has become less concrete in recent years, and there is debate in the medical community about whether sexual addiction actually exists.  We now understand that having multiple or frequent sex partners does not make you an addict, and so the diagnosis is not thrown around as liberally as it once was.  Sexual behavior, however, can become compulsive to the point of damaging your personal and professional life. Studies have shown that people who abuse drugs or alcohol are more likely to participate in risky sexual behavior, and may also be more likely to develop an unhealthy relationship with sex.

Having sex triggers the same dopamine production in your brain as other rewarding behaviors such as drinking alcohol or eating sweets.  This can also include other sexually gratifying acts such as watching porn or masturbating excessively. By continuously participating in this behavior, we create a reward response that, over time, can lead to intense cravings.  For those of us who have particularly efficient neural reward systems, we may be more inclined to develop an addiction toward any rewarding behavior, sex included.

Studies have shown that those who feel that they may have a sex addiction are far more likely to report substance abuse disorders in their family.  This may indicate that sexual addiction is a real affliction, and therefore can be treated. An unhealthy relationship with sex may also be a symptom of untreated sexual trauma in your past, and with professional help, you can begin to heal these wounds and find better ways to cope.  With the right care, sexual addiction can be treated along side substance addiction, so that you can achieve complete wellness and get your life back.

At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.