Sex Addiction in Devon

Sex Addiction in Devon

Sex Addiction is no Joke

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by our local newspaper, the Plymouth Evening Herald about my Sex and Pornography Addiction practice.  Prior to our meeting the paper had run an on-line pre-amble about the fact that there was a Sex Addiction service in Plymouth with more to follow……

When we met, the reporter, rather sheepishly, said that the on-line response had been quite disappointing with comments on their site along the lines of ‘oh I could do with a bit of that’ or ‘here Dave you should go for that it’s right up your street’ or ‘what a great addiction to have’.  Unfortunately, this is all too familiar a response when I talk to people about sex addiction.

Whether sex addiction actually exists is for another blog, but all I can say is that in my clients I found devastation, despair, remorse and confusion as to why they continue with their destructive behaviours knowing that, if found out, they jeopardise their relationships, family and in some cases employment.  But most of all I find shame.  Shame that they feel compelled to live a life that is against their core values.

When I meet their partners they are heartbroken, traumatised at the discovery, filled with bewilderment as to how they could not possibly have realised and their self-esteem is in tatters, knowing that they cannot compare to the women their partners are viewing.

My response to the reporter – ‘sex addiction is no joke’.  For me, irrespective of the increasing medical evidence to support its existence, experiencing and hearing what I have from my clients leaves me in no doubt that they no longer feel in control of their sexual behaviour despite its destruction in their lives.  Take out the word ‘sex’ and replace it with ‘drugs’ or ‘alcohol’ and you have a definition of addiction.

Sex addiction is not all fun and games

So, I ponder what is funny about someone being addicted to sex.  I guess in its simplest understanding we visualise men (in the main but female sex addicts are becoming ever more common) just having loads of great sex and for men delighting at the fact that they might meet a partner who would be addicted to sex.  Sex all the time, what a great situation to find yourself in.  But visualise this; spending 6 or 7 hours a day searching and seeking internet sites looking for the ‘perfect’ porn or ‘end shot’.  The pleasure-seeking chemistry in our brain egging us on, relentless in its search.  ‘Vanilla’ porn no longer has the same arousal, so we escalate to different, hard core porn, we become confused as our need for surprise and shock takes us into a dark world that we never thought or could believe we would inhabit; homosexuality, extreme S&M or rape.  We are 13 years old.  For the next 10, 20 years we continue until ‘real’ women no longer seem to have the same level of stimulus.  We suffer from erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation or loss of desire for our partners, our relationships suffer.  When single we withdraw into a solitary world, our brain structure is changing and life no longer holds the same pleasures.  I’m not laughing.

The men and women I meet are not laughing.  They hold their heads low and whisper their acting out behaviour, ‘I have never told anyone this before’, they look up at me checking to see if I will judge them, barely able to make eye contact.  No-one knows of their dark secret(s) but in many cases, this is only the beginning, having often suffered physical and/or emotional abuse whilst growing up.  They share with me their heart wrenching stories of neglect and the shame that they carry within themselves as a result, rather than reaching for the bottle, they have turned to pornography, chat rooms or prostitutes to anesthetise the feelings that are unbearable.

Sex addiction is not a laughing matter

The partners aren’t laughing either, they have their own journey of recovery to get through.  They also feel ashamed and often never tell anyone other than a closest friend or relative.  They look like you and me, but when someone makes a joke about sex addiction they have a strained laugh.  To tell is too shameful for them, how can they explain that they have decided to stay in the relationship, as a lot of women do.

The reporter is interested to know how I can help.  The biggest step I tell her is overcoming the shame and picking up the telephone, they then need to attend their first appointment.  Once these two barriers are overcome, the work can begin and you know, sometimes we do laugh.  I help them to recall the good times in their lives, before the addiction took over, the happier times of their childhood or just the fact that they are now more able to enjoy life and take pleasure from the simplest things.  We often laugh.  But we don’t laugh in the face of sex addiction because we know that the journey of recovery is a long one and every day is an important step towards a healthy fulfilling sex life and life.

But not all sex or pornography addicts have suffered trauma.  In today’s world of high speed internet access and superhuman stimuli most young men have watched more porn and more extreme porn than their fathers would have watched in a lifetime pre-the internet; opportunity, availability and affordability themselves are creating addiction.

Porn is a multi-billion-dollar industry.  The 2016 statistics from one porn site alone, Pornhub, reveal that its videos were watched 92 billion times during 2016, by 64 million daily viewers[1].

A recent survey by Childline reported that two thirds of those questioned between the age of 11 – 13 had watched porn and it was now the norm for boys as young as 13 to view pornography at least two or three times a week.    Girls are almost as likely to have seen porn as boys, but watch it less often.  There are also thousands of hits on sex addiction recovery sites every day.

So what point am I making? I guess what I am saying is that our children are at risk, if you are a parent I urge you to check and double check your computer blocking packages, educate them on the dangers of the internet and give them good sex education within the confines of a loving relationship.  Teach them to respect women rather than sexualise them.  Love and laugh with them.

Santella Siani




Nick Conn / 28th March 2018/ Posted in: Latest News

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    Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

    The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

    Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

    • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
    • Lorazepam (Ativan)
    • Diazapam (vailium)

    Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

    There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

    • Naltrexone
    • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
    • Nalmefene
    • Acamprosate (campral)

    Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

    There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

    Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

    A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

    Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

    The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

    Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

    Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

    Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

    *based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

    There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

    If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

    If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

    Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

    How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

    There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

    Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

    There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

    Local treatment

    Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

    Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

    Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

    Treatment Away

    Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

    As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

    When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

    There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

    Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

    There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

    Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

    Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

    Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

    Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

    Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

    Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

    How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

    The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

    Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

    Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

    Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

    You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

    The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

    There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.