Sex and Love Addiction Help & Treatment
At most, they might stretch those thoughts out to gambling.
In the introduction to his 1997 book Sex and Love: Addiction, Treatment and Recovery, Eric Griffin-Shelley wrote that:
“When I began my work in the addiction field almost 20 years ago, sex and love addiction was unknown. Even today, the concept that a person could be “hooked” on love and sex is unsettling to most people.
Some professionals scoff at the idea outright. Most are sceptical. However, as more is written and taught about this painful illness, many laypersons and professionals alike are starting to open their eyes and, in fact, to see the magnitude of the problem”
Luckily, progress has been made in the 25 years since that book’s publication – but it’s still not acknowledged by many.
Many people who suffer from them may also not want to speak out, fearing shame and embarrassment.
But love addiction and sex addiction are also serious conditions, which leave a devastating impact on many lives.
If you’re at a point where either kind of addiction is disrupting your relationships or other aspects of your life, you should seek out help.
You have a disease and deserve help to get better as much as anyone else.
You deserve to heal.
Here we have a guide to treatment, along with further details on sex and love addiction in general.
The Difference Between Love Addiction And Sex Addiction
They might be grouped together, here and elsewhere, but sex and love addiction are actually two separate issues.
As the name might suggest, sex addicts are addicted to sex specifically.
This might lead to them destroying relationships (possibly through inappropriate sexual behaviour, cheating or ditching activities they’d previously participated in due to their addiction), or ruining other aspects of their lives.
Love addiction, on the other hand, relates to the person’s behaviour in relationships and how that impacts the rest of their life.
With the former, their sexual activity may create barriers in their life in the same way that drug addiction does.
Love addicts may display signs of co-dependency, may stay in toxic relationships, will likely put their partner on an unhealthy pedestal and will have an unhealthy, obsessive need to be in love.
Common Behaviours Of Sex Addicts And Love Addicts
Now let’s talk about specific common behaviours of sex and love addicts.
For sex addiction, a few well-known characteristics are:
- Obsessive sexual thoughts or fantasies
- Excessive amounts of time spent on sexual acts
- Feeling shame over your obsessive sexual feelings
- Excluding other activities in your life for the sake of sex
- Excessive masturbating
- Cheating on your partner
- Engaging in risky or inappropriate behaviour, such as unprotected sex, public sex or masturbation at inappropriate times
It can also manifest itself in different ways, such as a pornography addiction, an addiction to masturbation, or an addiction to sexual acts in general.
Whereas people with love addiction:
- Feel the constant need to be in a relationship
- Tend to put their partners on an unrealistic pedestal, obsessing over them to an unhealthy extent
- Seek emotional comfort from a partner to the point of co-dependency or even unrequited love
- May experience key symptoms of drug addiction, such as cravings, euphoria and withdrawals, but for a partner
- Have an inability to be alone
Love Addiction And Co-Dependency
As we just noted, love addiction also has a strong connection to co-dependency.
Co-dependency is an unhealthy relationship structure where one person’s needs are constantly put over another’s.
People who suffer from co-dependency may have:
- Poor boundaries
- Low self-esteem
- An unhealthy need to save others
- Control issues
Treatment is available for these specific issues, even if you don’t suffer from sex or love addiction.
This is an incredibly common part of addiction overall, especially within a family structures.
In fact, in their 2014 book Co-Dependency: Issues In Treatment And Recovery, Bruce Carruth and Warner Meadenhall talk about the connection, going as far as to say that:
“Anyone who learns to adjust to the environment presented in an addictive family system must adopt maladaptive behaviour in order to survive… in many cases, this includes co-dependency. “
How Sex And Love Addictions Affect Your Brain
Like all addictions, both sex and love addiction affect your brain, creating patterns of chasing a high followed by a crash.
Your brain will then prioritize the dopamine rush you get from that high, leading to dependency.
You will continue to seek out that high, disregarding any negative impacts.
This will stop you from developing healthy relationships, leaving you alone and vulnerable to your worsening addiction.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Sex And Love Addiction
CBT focuses on the toxic thinking and behaviour patterns here called “cognitive distortions”.
These can trap you in a spiral of negative emotions, which can inhibit your recovery.
The premise of CBT is that what you think (and the personal meaning of those thoughts to you) will affect how you feel and what you do.
CBT teaches you to break down your problems into manageable chunks, so you can process them in a healthier way, leading you on to better behaviour.
Where To Go To Get Help
Like with any other addiction, you can contact the helpline of any rehab organisation to talk through issues with sex and love addiction.
Many of these places, including Rehab Recovery, will also offer help for sex and love addiction.
Support is also available through the NHS, though it may be harder to obtain than private care.
They can craft a full plan for your recovery, consisting of mental health treatments in this case.
Get Help For Sex And Love Addiction
Finding the right treatment service that can help you live free of sex addiction and love addiction is often a complicated and time-consuming process.
If you need urgent help and are finding the wide variety of treatments on offer overwhelming, that’s where we come in.
Our sex and love addiction treatment assistance gives you:
- A free help and evaluation service to help you choose
- Guidance on the best treatment options for your circumstances
- Assistance in picking out the most cost-effective options
- Information on quality of care, best clinical practice and more
- Complete clarity so you can make the right choice of treatment
Call today in complete confidence on 08000 886 686 to take your first steps on the road to a happy and independent new life.