Why Do I Do What I Do? Sex Addiction

Why Do I Do What I Do? Sex Addiction

Help For Sexual Behaviours

If you are reading this it is possible that you feel that your sexual behaviours, whatever they might be, seem as if they are taking over your life.  Despite many attempts to stop and broken promises to yourself you find yourself returning time and again to sexually acting out.

 

This is often the most confusing part for addicts, you will be aware of the destruction if you are caught, you feel the shame and remorse after sexually acting out.  But why, why do you keep on going back time and time again?

 

This is also the first question often posed by partners once they have discovered the secret lives that their loved ones have been living.  Why? What is wrong with me?  What didn’t I give/do that meant you had to find sexual gratification elsewhere? 

 

They are desperate to want to know.  They do not believe their partners when they tell them they don’t know.  They just think this is another lie, like, as is often the case, so many times before.  But often they really don’t know and are just as confused as their partners.

 

Addiction of any nature is often thought of as an anaesthetic; a coping mechanism to manage feelings that are too difficult to deal with.

 

Often from an early age, in the form of masturbation, we use sex to comfort ourselves, it can provide us with an escape from the reality of the real world.  But this in itself is not the problem, sex or masturbation is not the problem, in the same way, that alcohol in itself is not the problem, it is our dependency and feeling out of control that needs to be addressed.

 

Take the word ‘sex’ out of the equation and you are left with addiction and the answer isn’t straightforward.

 

Some argue that it is simply a moral issue and men (and women) should just stop using the addiction label as an excuse for philandering and being unfaithful and just need to ‘get a grip’.

 

There is more and more compelling research to suggest otherwise.  Growing consensus is that problems are multidimensional and addiction is a mixture of biopsychosocial conditions, a notion first articulated by George Engel in 1977[1]

Biopsychosocial

 

The term “biopsychosocial” comes from combining the individual factors that contribute to the model; biological, psychological (thoughts, feelings, behaviours), and social.

 

Seeing addiction holistically can reduce shame and help the addict to consider the problem in relation to the whole ‘system’ of their lives.   There are multiple pathways to addiction the significance of these individual pathways depends on the individual.

 

It is difficult and unnecessary to distinguish clear lines between the three elements of the model; our biology, including the neurobiology of our brain, is inseparable from psychosocial aspects.

 

Our brain is known for its neuroplasticity or ability to change in light of new experiences.  Therefore, experience impacts our brain and our brain in turn influences our behaviours and experiences.

 

 

Biological

 

When we consider biological perspectives during therapy, a common denominator in all addiction is the role of dopamine; the neurochemical responsible for reward and pleasure seeking in our brains.  Such is its importance to our survival that it is naturally stimulated by eating, drinking and having sex.

 

When this complex reward system is overpowered by super-normal stimuli such as watching pornography our brains seek these pleasures to the detriment of all other activities.

 

In addition, when our brains are developing as children the lack of attention, soothing and affection can have the consequences hard wired into our brains.  When children have experienced trauma, the addiction is not necessarily pleasure seeking but a survival strategy.

 

In our experience, understanding the neurobiology of addiction helps clients to reduce shame and confusion.

 

This does not diminish the responsibility for the behaviour but can act as an education in understanding why they feel compelled to repeat the same destructive behaviours over and over.  With this understanding different more informed choices can be made.

 

Clients become aware that, difficult as it is, the neurochemical ‘urge’ will pass.

 

Psychological

 

From a psychological perspective time is spent understanding the clients background and history, where often stories of trauma and attachment injuries can be found.  Attachment is a widely know psychological term for how we were nurtured and cared for as a child.

 

It is now widely understood that our formative attachments to our caregivers shapes how we are able to make adult attachments with our own loved ones.

 

Attachment refers to the level of anxiety and avoidance that we are able to tolerate in our relationships.  Of course, not everyone who has experienced trauma or attachment difficulties will go on to be an addict, but evidence suggests that sexual trauma is more prevalent amongst the sex addiction population.

 

Therapy can also help to focus on the thoughts, feelings and behaviours triggered by sex addiction, controlling impulse, triggers, urges and negative thinking patterns.  All of which help clients to feel more confident in managing urges enabling them to make conscious choices about how they wish to feel, think and behave.

 

Social

 

From a social perspective the environment and culture that we grew up in can greatly influence our values and beliefs around sex and sexuality.

 

The current sexualisation of our culture can impact on our lives.  For someone who might be pre-disposed to sexual addiction from their unique biological and psychological makeup, a sexualised environment is one in which they can flourish.

 

This is also compelled by our differing cultural expectations and messages about sex and sexuality, the world of work that we inhabit and our friendship and family relationships.

 

Needless to say, there are many different ways to explore addiction with clients.  However, this “client-centred” approach of considering the whole person contrasts the “one-size-fits-all” approach.

 

And finally, when partners are aware of the complex and diverse possibilities of why their partners act as they do they are less inclined to judge.  Often their anger softens as they realise that traumatic as it is for them, their partners feel powerless over their biological processes and destructive thinking patterns that previous life experiences have created.

 

But they can learn to bring the awareness into consciousness and face it head on.

 

 

Santella Siani

Nicholas Conn / 5th 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 0330 088 9518.

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