Do you have a persistent pattern, over 6 months or more, of being powerless over controlling intense, repetitive sexual impulses and urges, which result in repetitive sexual behaviour? Has this behaviour made your life, and the lives of loved ones, unmanageable?
As with other addictions, the disorder results in neglecting health and personal care, family, work and other responsibilities.
Typically, those with this compulsive behaviour have made numerous unsuccessful efforts to significantly reduce it – but it continues, despite severely adverse consequences.
Clinicians qualified in sex addiction treatment use validated and reliable questionnaires and detailed clinical histories to assess clients, in order to determine whether they have a sexual behaviour disorder. These clinical tools have high sensitivity in detecting the disorder.
There are also clear therapeutic protocols to assist a client into and through recovery, substantially reducing the risk of re-offending behaviour.
DO I HAVE A SEX ADDICTION? IS MY PARTNER A SEX ADDICT?
These questions become urgent when your or your loved ones’ repeated sexual behaviour cause you acute distress.
It may be that you feel empty, frustrated, anxious, depressed or ashamed by your behaviour. Or you may be a loved one who suddenly discovers their partner is sexually acting out, and you feel betrayed, angry, raging, resentful, humiliated, confused or depressed; and have nagging doubts about your own adequacy as a partner. You may be worried for your children and your family life. Your health – or your finances – may be in serious jeopardy.
Not all sexual behaviour that causes you or a loved one suffering is a sex addiction – even if the suffering is profound and long lasting, or the behaviour is considered by others “deviant” or even “risky”. However, if it amounts to an sex addiction, there is a solution in recovery, and a loved one can play an important role.
It is therefore important to know – is it an addiction? Once sexual behaviour is persistent, it sometimes becomes impossible for a person to know whether their behaviour has become compulsive, obsessive, impulsive or even dangerous or intrusive. People can become confused.
“There is a way through – and that is to take a clinical assessment and discuss the results with a professional therapist, trained in interpreting them. “
Is the behaviour continuing because they consciously choose not to change? Is it just “normal”, “natural”, “justifiable”, or “cultural”? Is it the loved ones or others who are mainly at fault, because they can’t or won’t give the sexual intimacy needed? Is it just “temporary” or “a one off”.
Is it just a product of some unusual circumstances – such as being in a new country, starting a new job, having a baby, going on business trips, or feeling bored, stressed, anxious, lonely, isolated, neglected, or depressed?
If the behaviour has been persistent for a period of time, a person may think that it is safer than it really is, or that the risks of being found out, and the consequences, are minimal, manageable and within their control.
Sometimes a person my think that their chosen sexual partners are freely consenting, or that they enjoyed the experience – but the truth is otherwise.
Sometimes a person may lie, cover up, tell half truths and keep silent about their behaviour, because they want to protect their loved ones. They may not be willing to admit to themselves or others that they mainly wish to avoid the painful consequences of their behaviour.
After a while, they may even become confused or uncertain about what the real truth is. Being persistently deceitful and living a double life, can become a crushing burden.
There are a number of assessments available online. However, some are not thorough or confidential enough, or they cause unnecessary alarm. Many do not provide a clear interpretation; and some do not provide a path towards a workable therapeutic solution.
The International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) provide Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSATs) with an anonymised, online questionnaire, called the “Sexual Dependency Inventory – 4.0”. It takes a client 2 hours or so to complete, and a confidential, detailed client report is automatically generated for the therapist to view online – and subsequently share it with the client.
The report compares the client’s responses with the responses of many thousands of other respondents, both with and without sex addiction, to gauge whether the sexual behaviour and preoccupation are likely to indicate a sex addiction.
The report provides the client and therapist with a thorough review of the client’s: sexual behaviour and preoccupations; the consequences; the possible origins of the behaviour; and the potential future course and direction of the behaviour.
The report also helps the client articulate their motivation to change their behaviour.
This report is coupled with a subsequent clinical interview session, that assesses: sexual, medical and psychiatric history; family of origin history; education and employment history; intimate and social relationships; and other information. Together, this information permits clients and the therapist to determine the next steps.
If the client’s behaviour is likely to amount to an addiction, the recovery path has been clearly mapped by the IITAP programme; and CSATs are trained and skilled in helping client’s navigate through their recovery using workbooks, videos, books, articles, and other therapeutic interventions.
The recovery path engenders great hope for those who start on it. Life gets better quickly, and keeps getting better with each recovery step that is conscientiously taken.
What causes the greatest suffering is not knowing. Am I a sex addict? Is my partner a sex addict?
Contact us today to take a free clinical assessment.
Many of us want to know how a person becomes an addict. Such compulsion is often described as a: “bio-psycho-social disease”. Some people inherit genetic vulnerabilities. They are predisposed to anxiety, depression, anger, stress and impulsivity.
Some may have suffered dreadful traumas. Neglected childhoods. Were thrill seekers. They got in with the wrong crowd in school. Did badly in class. Have low frustration and distress tolerance. Some have jobs or friends that make drink and drugs the norm. Some struggle with boredom and routine. Delayed gratification is tough for them. Some are overwhelmed by intense feelings. Some have a combination of these things. And everyone is different.
But how does knowing the root cause help with recovery? It may not. The recovery solution is in the present and in the future – not in the past. What can you do, here and now, to make a difference?
At Promises Healthcare, we are committed to helping you through your journey to recovery. Discover a new life, away from addiction and find renewed hope. Please contact our clinic for inquiries and consultations.
Clients and their families often want to know: how do people become addicts?
We are all very complex beings and it is almost impossible to give a definitive answer to this question. Addiction professionals often describe it as a bio-psycho-social “disease” that involves multiple personal risk factors. In order to understand what one’s personal risk factors are, it would be best to seek a professional that could help you understand various factors of how the addiction started and how it has taken over one’s life. There are biological factors such as genes that makes one vulnerable in developing addiction. There may be social factors such as abuse or poverty in which one uses substances to cope. And for others the experience of psychological trauma may result in one using substances to soothe or to numb themselves.
Regardless of the reason, recovery is possible.
Come and see a professional psychiatrist, psychologist or counsellor today for more information on how you can beat your addiction. At Promises Healthcare, we are committed to helping you through your journey to recovery. Discover a new life, away from addiction and find renewed hope. Please contact our clinic for inquiries and consultations.
This article was written by Andrew da Roza, Psychotherapist and addictions specialist, Promises Healthcare
Addiction can often open wide chasms in our relationships
If using prescriptions or other drugs and alcohol have become a problem, it’s worth checking out how bad the problem is. It’s like eating chocolate or drinking Coke.
At one end, is the occasionally pleasure of eating chocolate or drinking a Coke.
At the other end, is the pain of bingeing on two pounds of chocolate and drinking 25 Cokes a day.
The eating of chocolate and drinking Coke has moved from pleasure to pain. It’s the same for drugs and alcohol. But how do I know if I have moved to the ‘pain zone’? The answer is unique to each person. But there are common signs, and you can take a valid and reliable test. Consider going to any of the websites listed below and taking a simple test. A professional can help you put the results into perspective which would allow you to see whether the problem requires help and change. Change is difficult for all of us. Taking a test and reviewing the results may provide the motivation to change. Take a chance and take a test. A person who doesn’t take a chance – never had a chance.
At Promises Healthcare we are committed to helping you on a journey to recovery. To discover a life away for the addiction and to find renewed hope. Please contact our clinicif you have any inquiries or if you wish to have a consultation.