Sexual Addiction: About the Disease
Sexual addiction is a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and actions, or a lack of control of some sexual behavior or relationship. As with other addictions, such as alcohol and gambling, its negative impact on the addict and family members increases as the disorder progresses.
At first, only substances were viewed as potentially addictive.
Alcoholism has been recognized by the medical profession as a disease since the 1950s. Later, the mental health profession began to recognize that behaviors as well as substances could lead to the disease of addiction. Today we see addiction in two broad categories: Substance addictions and Process addictions. The first widely recognized process addiction was Pathological Gambling. Although Sex Addiction is not listed in the mental health diagnostic manual yet, many professionals agree that compulsive sex can be as addictive as any substance or other process addiction.
Anyone dealing with compulsive sexuality will recognize that the criteria for diagnosing addiction apply to out of control sex. A few of the criteria include loss of control, efforts to stop, preoccupation, continuing despite consequences, tolerance, and withdrawal.
The number one symptom of addiction is denial. ï¿½Addiction is a disease that tells us we donï¿½t have a diseaseï¿½. Denial also takes the form of ï¿½I can handle this on my ownï¿½. Unfortunately, addiction doesnï¿½t go away all by itself. It can be treated. Most people recovering from any addiction use a combination of self-help and professional treatment.
Sex addiction has much in common with other addictions. At the same time it is unique and best treated by a specialist. Many addicts begin their recoveries with inpatient treatment. For those who can afford the time (28 to 90 days) and the money (costs vary, but averages about $1,000 per day), that is the gold standard of treatment. We work most closely with The Meadows for those requiring residential treatment.
For those new to recovery, our 4 day group may be the best option. Paul Hartman specializes in this treatment method. Outcomes are excellent for the addict, the partner, and the coupleship.