Identify Sexual Addiction

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Like any other addiction, sexual addiction can have severe effects on the addict and his or her loved ones. As the addiction escalates, and the disorder progresses, the damage to personal relationships, self-esteem, career and other areas of life increases to devastating levels. A true sex addict will continue to engage in risky or damaging sexual behaviors despite the consequences, some of which can include health risks, broken marriages, legal problems and financial ruin.Knowing how to identify sexual addiction can provide you with the information you need to obtain help for yourself or your loved one. There is currently no official diagnostic criterion for sexual addition, and clinicians typically base their diagnosis on a combination of sexual and addictive signs and symptoms.source:ehow.com



Instructions

Watch for a pattern of compulsive or out-of-control sexual behavior, such as frequently indulging in pornography, engaging in dangerous sexual acts, having multiple partners, compulsively masturbating or engaging in prostitution–especially when the primary motivation behind the prostitution is not financial. Feelings of guilt following compulsive sexual acts are common, and are an indication that the behavior was out of the addict’s control.

Being unable to stop engaging in risky sexual behavior, despite the severe consequences, is another symptom of sexual addition that should be noted. Sex addicts may seem unable to eliminate or even reduce the frequency of their risky behavior, even after losing a spouse, becoming pregnant or contracting AIDS or another STD.

Consider events such as unexpectedly moving to a new city or joining a new religious organization possible signs that the addict is attempting to limit his or her sexual behavior or seek relief from the shame associated with the behavior. Typically, these moves or new associations are unsuccessful, and are simply a means of avoiding environments the addict links to sex.

Pay attention to any signs that the sex addict might be increasing the frequency or intensity of his sexual experience in order to receive sufficient satisfaction from the experiences. This is a classic symptom of addiction in general, and sexual binging can escalate quickly to the point of emotional and physical exhaustion. As tolerance levels increase, the pain and anxiety experienced during withdrawal can mimic that felt by a heroin addict.

Attempt to determine if the addict is using sexual obsession or fantasy as a coping mechanism. Sex addicts tend to fantasize sexually considerably more than most people, both as a means of maintaining an elevated level of arousal, and as a reaction to stress or anxiety.

Take note of any loss of interest in activities or relationships that were once important to the addict. As the sexual addiction becomes more severe, the addict may begin to neglect important occupational or social activities in favor of engaging in sexually related experiences. Friends, family members, work responsibilities and hobbies may cease to hold importance to the addict.

Act immediately if you notice any self-destructive behavior or severe changes in mood. Sex addicts can become severely depressed and may even consider self-harm or suicide. Consider any prolonged changes in mood to be a sign of a possible depressive episode, and seek help if needed.

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