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Sexual Addiction Diagnosis And Treatment

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Sexual Addiction

The human body is amazing, and the human mind is even more fascinating. We can develop feelings of love, hate, envy, fear, and we can also develop various addiction: sugar addiction, smoking addiction, drug addiction and sex addiction just to name a few. Addiction is a special state of body and mind when an individual does things despite negative consequences the activity may have. One of the addictions that have a special place amongst others is a sexual addiction, also known as sex addiction and therefore the sooner we establish the correct sexual addiction diagnosis the better for all relationships.

Sexual Addiction Diagnosis And Treatment: What is sexual addiction?

Sexual addiction is used to describe the behavior of people who are not able to control their sexual thoughts, urges, and behavior. Some of the models that pathological sexual behavior incorporates are erotomania, nymphomania, hypersexuality, satyriasis, Don Juanism and paraphilia-related disorders. If you are a professional looking to upgrade their knowledge about various addictions and treatments, you have to register for http://integrativeaddictionconference.com . This conference will give you all the knowledge you might be lacking, no matter if you are a scientist who’s focus is on addictions, hospital clinicians and practitioner, therapist, addiction prevention practitioner and advocator or a student seeking career orientation.   Check out what this conference has to offer at http://integrativeaddictionconference.com/who-should-attend-the-i-am-i/ .

Can you diagnose sexual addiction?sexual addiction diagnosis

Sex addiction is not formally diagnosable, but there are many changes in behavior that can indicate that a person has a problem with sex addiction. Being unable to think about other things but sex, having sexual thoughts during the whole day at work, at home, in transportation, lacking motivation for anything else but pleasing your sexual urges and decrease in productivity are some of the symptoms that can be alarming and are an indicator you should ask for help.

What are the symptoms of sexual addiction?

Addiction means that actions an individual does have negative consequences on their life and usual daily activities; therefore, if a person has trouble focusing on other segments of their life, or they are unable to control their thoughts and sexual acts, they have developed a sex addiction. Therefore, there are many symptoms you can notice that can indicate one suffers from sexual addiction.

Symptoms can be divided into two groups: emotional and physical symptoms.

  1. Psychological (emotional) symptoms of sex addiction

Usually, who suffer the most are those who are emotionally attached to a person suffering from addiction: family, spouses, girlfriends/boyfriends or friends. An individual who is addicted in most cases doesn’t recognize the problem they have while people in their surrounding have to deal with consequences, and eventually they build emotional boundaries between them. On the other side, sex addicts have problems on their own: most of the sex addicts have the fear of being abandoned and left alone. Because of this fear, sex addicts tend to stay in disastrous relationships, just to avoid being alone. When a sex addict is on their own, they feel empty and incomplete, and they tend to sexualize feelings of guilt, loneliness or fear. Sex addiction leaves emotional scars for life unless the person is willing to accept the fact and start working on dealing with their problem on time.

  1. Physical symptoms of sex addiction

Unlike emotional symptoms and consequences, there are just a few physical symptoms of sexual addiction. There is, however, the feeling of immobilization due to emotional or sexual obsessions.

If a person is addicted to pornography, they may have problems performing in real life; they can suffer from erectile dysfunction, or they can lack sexual desire for their partner. Some studies show that too much pornography builds a surreal image of perfect woman/man and that this fact has much to do with poor performance in reality. Their expectations are much higher, and they lose interest in “real bodies” with flaws.

What are the health consequences of sexual addiction?

Departmental Management of the USDA claims that 45% of women and 38% of men who suffer from sexual addictions have a venereal disease. Another consequence is unwanted pregnancy; statistics say that 70% of women suffering from sex addictions have experienced at least once in their life an unwanted pregnancy.

Physical consequences such as STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) or sexual dysfunction are one of the potential consequences of sex addiction; other emotional and non-physical adverse effects include problems in social life (at work, in personal relationships, in the family) and lack of motivation and focus at work.

Addictions are severe mental problems that can lead to anxiety, depression, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive type symptoms, etc.

How can you treat sexual addiction?

At the above-mentioned conference, you will learn all the newest methods of treating addictions. See details at http://integrativeaddictionconference.com/integrative-addiction-medicine-speakers/.

Some of the therapies are:

  • Individual therapy with a certified mental health professional. 30-60 minute-therapy is focused on sexually compulsive behaviors and any other following disorders. You will talk it out and see the real cause of your addiction; maybe it has to do with genes, childhood, depression or emotional disorders.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy-This therapy puts your behavior, thoughts and emotions in the center. It is a therapy focused on changing negative thoughts to positive and also uses dialogue to find the roots of the problem.
  • The psychodynamic therapy-The focus of this therapy is unconscious memories and conflicts that affect human behavior. Psychodynamic therapy reaches into your deepest childhood memories and explores your current habits that could be a reason you developed sex addiction.
  • Dialectical – Behavioral Therapy-This four-component therapy is designed to teach you four skills. It has skill training group, DBT phone coaching, consultation team and individual treatment. They teach you mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance.
  • Group therapy-Using the power of the group in finding quick sexual addiction diagnosis is being embraced by many this days. This therapy will help a person suffering from sex addiction replace detrimental behavior and negative thoughts with positive ones and pro-social behavior. The power of group helps an individual realize they are not the only ones suffering from this addiction. This helps them stick to the plan of the therapy, and it gives them strength to go on. By sharing experiences, members of the group learn from others’ experience, and they get the bigger picture about their problem.
  • Counseling-Couple’s counseling and marriage counseling are meant not only for the person suffering from sex addiction but for their partner as well this is also one way of establishing sexual addiction diagnosis. It focuses on problems sex addiction has brought and helps the couple improve communication skills, strengthens their trust and improves healthy sexual functioning.
  • Inpatient therapy-A person undergoing this treatment resides at the recovery facility, isolated from the outside so he/she can focus on their healing process without temptations and distractions of everyday life. Inpatient therapy can take some time because the patient has to be sure he/she won’t give up once they leave the facility. It is a challenging psychical task but one which facilitates the sexual addiction diagnosis in good time.

 

Diagnosis of sexual addictionSexual addiction diagnosis is very vital as it facilitates successful sex addiction treatment. Although it can have severe consequences for individual’s life and to people surrounding him/her, sex addiction can be controlled and healed with the right treatment. The most important are to contact professional help if there are signs of sex addictions, so the person could start the treatment as soon as possible. Visit the conference website ( http://integrativeaddictionconference.com ) and expand your knowledge; hear the world’s leading addiction professionals and learn about treatments and diagnosis of sex addiction.

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Brain Activity In Sexual Addiction

Understanding Brain Activity In Sexual Addiction

Brain activity was studied while the subjects were looking at pornographic pictures.  The researchers responsible for this study used fMRI which uses a BOLD signal to monitor brain activity.  They studied the responses of 19 male subjects who were self-admitted sexual addicts who were unable to control their sexual behavior and whose sexual behavior was causing significant problems for them. They then compared these findings with 19 other young men who were classified as being healthy and who had no problems with controlling their sexual habits.

Compared to the 19 healthy volunteers, the men afflicted with compulsive sexual behavior had started looking at pornographic pictures at a younger age and spent significantly more time looking at pornographic literature than did the healthy volunteers.  In many ways, the patients resembled people who are addicted to drugs, in that they continued behaviors that were having negative impacts on their relationships and jobs.  The objective of the study was to find out if their brains mirrored the same type of activity as did the brains of drug addicts.

Brain Activity In Sexual Addiction

To this end, both the healthy volunteers and the patients were shown a series of short videos.  The videos were either sexually explicit in nature, or they were oriented towards sports.  While these videos were being shown, their brain activity was monitored using an fMRI which uses a BOLD (blood oxygen level dependent) signal.  The result was that the patients brains had significant increases in activity in three separate areas of the brain, the ventral striatum, the dorsal anterior cingulate and the amygdala, are regions that are also particularly activated in addicts when shown drug stimuli.

The ventral striatum is involved in processing rewards and motivation while the anterior cingulate is involved in anticipating rewards and therefore in drug craving.  The amygdala is involved in the processing of the significance of events and emotions.  The participants in the study were asked to fill out a questionnaire which asked them to rate the videos they saw as to the level of sexual desire experienced while they watched the videos and how much they liked each video.

The reason for the questionnaire was to measure the amount of desire experienced and compared that to the amount of liking.  This is because drug addicts are driven to seek their drug because they perceive a need for it, but have little or no enjoyment of it. In fact, many addicts will state that they don’t use drugs because they enjoy the high any more but because they become really ill if they don’t.

 

The result of the questionnaire was as expected—the sex addicts rated the amount of desire experienced while watching the sexually explicit videos as being high or very high, but rated the liking of the same video as being poor or very low.  This means that the experience perceived by the patients was while stimulating, not very enjoyable.  The patients also experienced higher interactions within the regions of the network identified—with a greater amount of cross-talk between the three regions specified—while watching the sexually explicit rather than the sports videos.

The researchers also found a higher correlation between the age of the patients and the amount of brain activity—the younger patients had higher levels of activity in the ventral striatum in response to pornography. This association was strongest in patients with abnormal sexual activity. The frontal control regions of our brains—the brakes that control our compulsiveness—continue to develop into the mid-twenties.  This imbalance may account for the greater impulsivity and risk-taking associated with young people. The age-related findings in these patients suggest that the ventral striatum may be involved in the development of compulsive sexual behavior much as it is in the development of drug addiction.

Also, a second study seems to show that people with compulsive sexual behavior are more susceptible to cues that trigger their compulsion than are healthy men.  This study showed the men, who were divided between “healthy” men and sex addicts.  They were given identical tasks.  The first task involved looking at a series of images in pairs. These images were of naked women, furniture, and clothed women. They were then shown another series of images, some of which were familiar, and others which were not and told to choose a pair of pictures to win a specified amount of money. The researchers found that the sex addicts were more prone to choose the novel over the familiar choice for sexual images relative to neutral object images but that healthy men were more likely to choose the novel choice for neutral female images over neutral object images.

 

A second task involved learning to associate certain images overlaid with patterns with reward—similar to Pavlov’s dogs.  The men were then given a choice between those images and novel images. This time, the addicts were more likely to pick cues associated with monetary and sexual rewards. This supports the theory that seemingly innocuous cues can trigger a sex addict to seek out sexual images.

Understanding Brain Activity In Sexual Addiction

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Increasing sex performance

Female Sex Addiction and Mental Disorders

Discussion: Female Sex Addiction and Mental Disorders 

First, the good news:  Sexual addiction is a legitimate mental health disorder.  This is good news because for many years therapists were taught that there was no such thing as sexual addiction because sexual addiction does not necessarily have anything to do with drugs—either legal or illegal.  In fact, it might not involve other people at all.  The sex addict may be into self-stimulation, viewing pornographic materials (either hard copy or internet), or they may be strictly using fantasy as a means of escape. There are different types of sexual addiction, and there are differing degrees of the same.  What it comes down to is that your sexuality is causing problems in your life, and you cannot stop even when you want to.  This is sexual addiction.

 Researchers have found that those who are being treated for sexual addiction are likely to have another illness besides their addiction. In fact, many patients being treated for mental illness also have some form of addictive behavior.  This can be cigarette smoking, or it can be something else. The addiction is being used in some cases to mask the symptoms of a mental illness that causes more pain than the addiction itself does.

 female sex addiction2

There are few statistics available because female sex addiction and mental disorders is a new diagnosis. This is true even though sexual addiction is not a new subject.  It is simply one that was more likely to be classified as a form of OCD than as an addiction. Sexual addiction does carry overtones of OCD, but then so do most addictions.  The thing that distinguishes sexual addiction from OCD and other mental illnesses is that it arises because of the way our brain responds to the stimulation of sex.

 

Like many other types of addictions, sexual addiction stimulates our brains to release dopamine.  Dopamine is a chemical created in our brains that has an action very much like opiates.  It can, and does, make susceptible individuals feel “high”.  And in fact, people who are susceptible to such things are high, and react much like people who are high on other types of opiates.  This can be used in an unconscious manner to mask the pain of mental illnesses such as depression, ptsd, and anxiety. Of course, it can also start as a way to mask the pain of a mental illness and then escalate to a point where it is causing more pain than the original diagnosis.

 

Another thing that makes the announcement that sex addiction is a legitimate mental health issue is that the health professionals who are most likely to come across people who may have it now posses a tool that will allow them to assess their patients and help them to treat both the mental illness and the sexual addiction.  It is necessary when a patient has both an illness and an addiction that they be treated at the same time.  Otherwise, the mental illness will cause the patient to have trouble maintaining their sobriety (however that is measured) and the addiction will undermine the treatment for the mental illness.

 

Women who present with sexual addiction can also present with a variety of mental illnesses as well.  These can include depression, PTSD, anxiety, and other illnesses.  Again, the presence of sexual addiction will complicate the process of treatment for the primary mental illness.  This is because sexual addiction in women carries its own load of guilt, shame, and depression.  In addition, because of the sexual addiction they may have put themselves in positions where even more abuse took place and they may have a series of mental illnesses which have been either caused or exacerbated by the sexual addiction. An instance here is a woman who because she suffered trauma as a child, becomes sexually addicted. To feed that addiction, she may have been in a situation where she was either raped in such a fashion that she developed PTSD as a response, or she may develop deep anxiety because she is putting herself in danger of losing everything she has if the truth about her sex life comes to light.

 

In either case, this woman started out with PTSD and possibly depression.  Now, as a result of her trying to use sex as a mechanism to deny the pain she was in she is in even more pain.  This cycle can continue until she either receives appropriate treatment or she dies as a result of the amount of pain she is now in.

 This is why I said at the beginning of this article that the announcement that female sexual addiction is a legitimate addiction is a good thing.  It helps to lessen the stigma associated with female sexual addiction and helps to increase the chances of women who need help receiving it.

Discussion: Female Sex Addiction and Mental Disorders 

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Perpetual Fear of Exposure Ruins Relationship

Perpetual Fear of Exposure Ruins Relationship with Partners

RelationshipAny form of addiction works on the addict as some form of self-soothing emotional escapade from all sorts of pressures and anxieties that addicts face in life as a result of the drug use or as a result of life complexities.

Addicts attempt to meet their primary emotional and mental needs with a substance or behavior which supersedes reason. No matter how much sex or pornography a person consumes, the core emotion with which they are struggling is unmoved, and the feelings of emptiness are exacerbated by the very “remedy” intended to bring relief. People free of addiction tend to meet those primary needs with healthy physical and relational behaviors that serve as a priority over other forms of connection.

When one partner in a marriage or relationship is a sexual addict, both partners will have to suffer. The extent to which each partner is impacted by the sexual compulsivity will vary depending on the type of addiction, the length of time he has been a victim, the pace of progress of the menace, the presence/absence of children in the family, presence of other co-occurring addictions among other factors. In every marriage, if a partner has sex addiction, the impact is enough to cause gross damage to the relationship or the family. There is therefore need for treatment so that the condition of the addict may not worsen. However, the partner who is not yet addicted also needs help.

A sexual addict will leave the partner feeling guilty and shameful and sometimes even bitter and these calls for counseling to help them eradicate these thoughts from their minds as they may escalate into more serious effects. These feelings will have a negative bearing on the relationship and the un-addicted partner may begin viewing him/herself as an object of desire that is abused and misused, with these thoughts he/she is bound to be distant and this creates discord in the relationship.

How can fear of exposure in a female sex addict ruin a relationship?

Fear of exposure causes a female sex addict to act in certain ways that jeopardize her relationships. The shame from her sexual acts and the fear of being exposed and rejected are powerful motivators that keep the sex addict trapped in isolation. She closes himself off, not realizing she’s creating a “vacuum of emptiness” inside. This “vacuum of emptiness” is unbearable and so she “fixes it” by acting out sexually. But her acting out only produces more shame and emptiness, and a vicious cycle sets in.

To try to run from the mess she is on the inside, she fakes it on the outside. Some will spend more of their time din their jobs and neglect the time they have for their partners; they mostly do this in hope that their success in their careers may fill their vacuums in love.

Some will turn to food, drugs, relationships and alcohol in pursuit of a fix for the vacuum they ail from, all these will only beckon more sexual acts that only make the relationship between her and her husband sour. However even after engaging in sexual activities with different people the hunger for more will be insatiable hence they will remain trapped in the behavior.

She becomes increasingly self-centered.

In her isolated state the sex addict becomes the center of her world. She becomes obsessed with acting out (or not doing so) her wants, problems, feelings and she also becomes very worried about what people think and say about her.

She obsesses about acting out, (or not acting out), her wants, her problems, how she is feeling at the moment, looking successful and what others think about her. She also becomes egocentric and judgmental making it hard for her to be understood and pleased by the rest of her family members; her children and husband as well as those in the extended family circle.

Her values will also change and she may become a person whose character is wanting and no one really would like to spend time with.

Her perceptions, values and decision making processes are distorted.

She doesn’t see how her decisions affect herself and others and she can’t see the devastating long term consequences of her choices. Her distorted ambitions and her insecure and narrow perspective leave her prone to making big mistakes when crucial decisions need to be made both in her personal and professional life.

She’s blind to the fact that the course she’s on is destructive to herself, her family, her employer and the church.

Fear causes fatigue and anxiety that affect general health.

relationshipThe stress sex addiction puts on her immune system and lowers it making the addict more susceptible to diseases like colds and other infections of the respiratory system.

Sexual addiction alters the shape of the brain and drains natural levels of serotonin. It also interferes with the nervous system and may also affect your sleep and energy levels will be drained. Depression and anxiety will find their way in and cause the mayhem they are known to cause; emotional instability. With depression they will be bound to use antidepressants to ease the tension and this may be a leeway to some ailments.

Fear of exposure by female sex addicts has far reaching effects on their social lives. At AWAREmed Health and Wellness resource center, help and support is available. Call Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) for expert advice.

Perpetual Fear of Exposure Ruins Relationship with Partners

 

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How Profitable Is It To Create Natural Addiction Clinics?

There are lots to benefit from when an addict decides to get treatment from a natural addiction clinic. To begin with, most of these natural addiction clinics are also holistic meaning they not only focus on treating the symptoms of addiction but focuses on whole person healing that entails correcting all the defects that might have been caused by the prolonged use of the drugs of abuse. This is just another great reason that make addicts go for natural addiction clinics as opposed to pharmaceutical prescriptions that may only address the issues of addiction related symptoms and cravings but will not focus on achieving whole person healing by healing the parts of brains and the entire nervous system that have since stopped coordinating well for optimum health of the addict. The profitability of natural addiction clinics is peaking in some parts of the world while in others it has already climaxed due to the embrace with which the addicts have welcomed the exceptional ability of nature’s healing powers. Today many addiction patients will prefer to get attended to in a holistic rehabilitation center that advocates for natural addiction treatment. This has led to the mushrooming of different natural addiction centers, some of which have stayed till now offering beneficial addiction treatments to addicts while some that sprang up with the sole aim of reaping big profits have disappeared. What does this tell us? Okay, creating a natural addiction clinic can be very profitable but you as a doctor needs to be more concerned with the wellbeing of your patients than your drive to enrich yourself. AWAREmed Health and Wellness and Resource is an example of an establishment that advocates of natural healing as they are holistic, this facility has remained till now because it was created with a mission to avail the best alternative treatments to patients battling some of the most common diseases that patients find a nightmare to treat such as cancer and addiction. This establishment is a living testimony of how profitable an establishment that advocates for natural healing can be profitable when founded on the stones of care and love for patients as well as laced with unending quest to avail better and safer treatment options to patients battling addiction.

addiction Clinics

Natural addiction Clinics can benefit all addicts

Another reason that has made natural addiction clinics more popular is the fact that these clinics are well equipped and are always founded by integrative doctors who are experienced in addiction treatment and hence know the extent to which specific drugs or substances affect the person and which option of treatments can best yield the much needed result.  the natural addiction clinics employs some of the traditional addiction treatments that are known to be effective and goes a long way in achieving whole person healing as opposed to treatment of just symptoms and calming down some of the common side effects of drug withdrawals like depression and anxiety. There’s no requirement for attending these clinics except that participants must deeply desire sobriety. However, most participants have been through a traditional rehab program and not had the success they desired. Natural addiction clinic programs are considered alternative types of treatment because they don’t follow the traditional model, which focuses on psychotherapy, 12-step programs and other support groups but focuses on all the benefits that can be drawn from the nature’s natural healing powers to help heal an addict with minimal or no side effects at all.

addiction ClinicsThe natural addiction clinics incorporate the use of herbs and specific diets to help restore the balance in the brain chemistry and quell cravings. The natural addiction clinics are not only for those who are addicted to drugs and substances alone but also for those with behavioral addictions like gambling, sex addiction and even pornography.  Natural addiction clinics may offer such services as nutritional counseling, psychiatric support, massage, yoga, Tai Chi, herbal therapies and adventure-based therapies that cater to all manner of addictions, both behavioral and substance related. These centers also have staffs who are vastly experienced in handling addiction cases. They can also customize treatment to suit every patient’s condition belief and preferences all in a bid to restore the mind the body and the spirit. The fact that the natural addiction clinics are home for all addicts further opens great avenues for qualified doctors who opt to create natural addiction clinics.

Another factor that makes natural addiction clinics preferable is the environment in which most of them are located, natural addiction clinics are not mostly established in busy town centers but on the mountains, or by a lake or the ocean. The setting is usually peaceful and idyllic in order to promote healing. Most holistic addiction doctors believe that locating these clinics in such places helps the patients to connect with nature which further helps them to recover even faster.

Offers variety of treatment options

The extent to which a person is affected by drug use will warrant the type of treatment that he gets, it is also good to note that different people will react to a given treatment differently and this is why a specific treatment that worked for a given addict may fail to work for another addict. This is why most natural addiction clinics avail different treatment options that addicts can benefit from. Some of the traditional approaches to healing like meditation are god for an addict but if for some reason you are not comfortable you are often given the freedom to skip the session. It is your determination for sobriety that shouldn’t run out.

Finally, even if creation of natural addiction clinics were to yield supernormal profits, it is good to stay within the focus which is to avail better healing options for all addicts. Dr. Dalal Akoury of AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource center has championed the use of integrative medicine in healing addicts for years; find her at Myrtle beach, South Carolina.

How Profitable Is It To Create Natural Addiction Clinics?

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