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Sex / Porn Addiction

Sex and Pornography Addiction

Sex / Porn Addiction

Pornography addiction and sex addiction are two of the fastest growing addictions in the U.S.  Exact numbers are not known but it is estimated that more than 16,000,000 people in the U.S. suffer from compulsive sexual behavior.

Understanding Sex and Pornography Addiction

Addiction, as defined by the DSM 1V-TR of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), can, and does, take place to a wide range of things other than drug and alcohol use,  Behaviors such as gambling, overeating, internet use, sex and pornography all can become addictive.  In all cases, the term addiction describes a chronic pattern of behavior that continues despite the negative consequences that result from engaging in the behavior. It is quite common for an addict to express the desire to stop the behavior, but find that they are unable to stop the addictive behavior.

Professionals in the field of addiction sometimes note the distinction between an addiction with a physical dependence, characterized by symptoms of withdrawal, and an addiction that is based on psychological dependence.  Both a sexual addiction and pornography addiction are psychological addictions.  Addictions to sex and pornography are found in all levels of society, in all levels of education, in all professions, and in both men and women.  In fact is appears that over a third of sex addicts are women.

Many sex addicts and pornography addicts say their unhealthy behaviors started with limited behaviors such as masturbation, visiting a strip bar, occasionally viewing pornography, or engaging in an affair or other risky sexual behavior.  However, the true addict finds that this limited behavior has progressed to increasingly uncomfortable and often risky and compulsive behavior.

A key feature of sexually related addictions is its obsessive, unmanageable nature: a normal person might stare as they happen to drive past an attractive person, but an addict will drive around the block to stare again; and perhaps again. Or they may spend literally hours searching the net or reading pornography. Addicts can spend an extraordinary amount of time and money on their habit.

Two other key factors are the powerlessness that the addict feels to control their behavior and the rationalization the addict uses to explain and justify acting out.  The feelings of being powerless over a compulsive behavior and rationalizing the behaviors often result in the addict's life becoming unmanageable. The addict acts out the addiction and then often experiences guilt, shame, confusion, and feelings of hopelessness and self-loathing.

Sex addicts and pornography addicts often try to stop their addictive behavior and may be able to temporarily control their behavior.  However, an addict who tries to permanently stop the addiction on their own is usually not successful.  Typically, without professional intervention and help, a sex addiction or pornography addiction will grow progressively worse.

Treatment of Sex and Pornography Addiction

It is important to distinguish between sexual addiction and sexual anorexia as both can present similar behaviors, but effective treatment may be quite different. Aside from depression, it also must be established whether or not the presenting behaviors are due to obsessive-compulsive disorders, bipolar disorders, or some other problem.

In treating my clients who have a sex addiction or addiction to pornography, I typically help the then to develop specific behavior patterns to avoid the addictive stimuli, explore the factors that led them to embrace unhealthy addictive sources of pleasure, and then help them to develop health ways to find satisfaction. In general, therapeutic approaches include traditional psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, reality therapy, and behavioral therapy.

Religious and spiritual-based methods of treatment can often provide effective help.  Examples of these spiritually based treatments are Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous that are based on the 12-step system of Alcoholics Anonymous. Other groups that provide similar treatment without AA's religious component include LifeRing Secular Recovery and Smart Recovery.  Several other treatment modalities have proved to be effective, including various forms of group therapy and individual psychotherapy that deal with underlying psychological issues. The use of medication has proven to be very effective.

Would You Like Personal Assistance?

If you really want help dealing with your feelings and emotions, changing your behavior, and improving your life and the approach and office hours of typical therapists and counselors do not fit your life style or personal needs, I may have a solution.

By using very flexible office appointments, telephone consultations, email, teleconferences, and the willingness to travel and meet with you personally in your home, office, or other location,  I can be available to help you anytime and anywhere.

Feel free to contact me now for your free initial consultation. Once you become an existing client, you will be given a  pager  number where you can reach me whenever you need.

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                                    Copyright 2005 Dr Vincent Berger                                     


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