What is Sexual Addiction?
There are many forms and faces of addiction. One of the many that deserves more attention is sexual addiction. This occurs when a person becomes preoccupied with thoughts of sexual activity or sexual actions. For example, someone in a marriage might have multiple affairs with other partners, someone may become promiscuous and have many "one night stands," or someone may look at a lot of pornography much more often than is normal. People with sex or porn addiction may feel as frustrated and helpless as those suffering from substance abuse, and they see their lives crumbling as a result of their actions.
Sexual Addiction in the DSM
The DSM, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is the book used by American psychiatrists to diagnose psychological conditions. Over the last sixty-five years, five editions of the DSM have been released. The DSM-III contained a diagnosis of sexual addiction. However, the newer DSM-IV and DSM-V did not. That's because the issue is controversial, and psychiatric authorities could not reach a consensus. Addiction is traditionally limited to a chemical addiction or abuse of a psycho-active substance. Since sexual addiction is a behavior-related addiction, some say it does meet the requirements. Plus, sex is a natural part of human behavior, leading people to disagree over whether it should qualify as a disorder.
Though sexual addiction is not recognized by the current DSM, many psychiatrists still offer sex addiction crisis support. Getting help with any addiction can be a daunting and embarrassing process, but it's the only way to help recover your normal life. Just like with substance abuse, there are programs that offer rehab for sexual addiction. In rehab, you will follow a daily schedule and learn coping skills and information in group settings and one-on-one with a therapist. After rehab, the next step is to join a support group or a twelve-step recovery program. In addition, finding a counselor who is right for you is key to recovery. Some people also use religion and church as supports to help them get back on their feet.
The road to recovery is rarely smooth or easy. It can be a messy process, and for some, a life-long struggle. Even with a support group and a counselor, an addict may have times of crisis. During these times, addicts may be close to relapsing into old habits, and may be overwhelmed by temptations to engage in inappropriate sexual activity. Fortunately, sex addiction crisis support and/or porn addiction crisis support is widely available. Examples are phone hotlines, often running 24/7, where addicts can talk with a real person about their thoughts and urges. Hotlines are especially useful when the emotional crisis happens at a time when your counselor or support group is unavailable. With crisis support like this, addicts are more likely to stay on the right track.