Sex addiction is a real illness, not just an excuse.
Many of you may have heard of sex addiction. In recent years, celebrity sex addicts such as Tiger Woods and Russell Brand have brought this issue into the public sphere. However, it is not just a celebrity condition, people from all walks of life can suffer from sex addiction. And, just like alcohol addiction is not just about alcohol and eating disorders are not about food, sex addiction is not just about sex. It is a sign of underlying problems such as stress, past trauma, depression. “Those are some of the core issues that you start to see when you treat someone with sex addiction” says Dr Hugh Gallagher, Medical Director of One Step Clinic.
What is Sex Addiction?
Sex addiction (sometimes referred to as Hypersexual Disorder) is a disorder involving compulsive sexual thoughts and behaviour that persist and escalate despite negative consequences to oneself and others. It is not just a high sex drive but a damaging pattern of sexual behaviour. Other than the risk of emotional damage (to the addict and their friends and family), sex addiction also brings the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, damage to one’s health, damage to one’s social life and job loss.
Sex addiction can present in different ways. Dr Gallagher gives the examples of people who spend all their money on prostitutes, office workers watching porn at work, people masturbating or exposing themselves in public and repeated cheating on one’s partner. These behaviours don’t just happen once, there is, as Dr Gallagher says, “an inability to stop” despite the negative consequences.
Often, a crisis leads to addicts seeking treatment. Getting caught cheating, being fired from their job, being arrested for soliciting sex workers, or being diagnosed with an STD is often the low point that leads peoples suffering from sex addiction to seek treatment. Sometimes, this low point can be a relief, as the lying and fear of being discovered finally stops.
Addiction or not?
There is still some debate in health circles about whether sex addiction truly is an addiction. Research is still in the early stages compared to other disorders. Some research has suggested that it’s linked to abnormal dopamine or serotonin levels in the brain. Other research suggests that it’s related to impulse control and emotional regulation. Part of Dr Gallagher’s treatment encourages patients to challenge the thoughts that lead to their risky behaviour.
Having a treatment plan is key. One Step Clinic offers one-to-one counselling, support groups, behaviour therapy and medication to help clients with their addictions. All treatment plans start with a thorough assessment with Dr Gallagher, who will help you develop the best treatment plan for you.
To find out more about the treatments offered by One Step Clinic for sex and love addiction, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01-6991369 in absolute confidence.