Drug and Sex Addiction Oftentimes Merge Into One Disorder
If you’ve ever spent any time among the hardcore rock and roll crowd, then you probably witnessed various people caught up in drugs and sex. Throughout every decade, there are some music genres well known for their party lifestyle combined with drug use. Oftentimes, those who are a struggling with a sex addiction will use drugs to enhance the sexual experience. For this reason, there are treatment centers now offering treatment programs for both drug addicts and sex addicts.
Enhancing sex with stimulants
Most sex addicts will at the very least entertain thoughts of using stimulants to enhance the sexual experience. The most common stimulants used are cocaine, crystal meth, and various other stimulant drugs. Maybe they started out just enjoying sex without drugs but decided to try a new experience by taking a drug first and then having sex. Often times with such stimulant drugs, they experience a more heightened sexual encounter and become dependent than upon the drugs.
Down the road, they may try to stop using the drugs before having sex, but find that the sexual experiences are not as satisfying. So, one addiction is actually fueling the other addiction. Because of this, it is important that treatment centers recognize the dual addiction and have a program that will treat both at the same time.
Common myths about dual addiction
What is the main group of people associated with this? You may hear stories about gay men who are addicted to crystal meth acting upon their sexual addiction frequently. You may have also heard that sex and drug addiction only affects men. However, both addictions can affect a variety of people, including male and female, gay and straight, the young and the old and the rich and the poor. Just as addiction to a drug can affect any age, sex, or race, so can sex addiction.
Signs of sex addiction
First, let’s discuss a bit about what sex addiction is. There are actually different types of sexual addictions, such as pornography, masturbation, prostitution, multiple sexual pursuits or partners, or sadistic or masochistic behavior. There are various signs associated with a sex addiction, such as:
- Obsessing about sex most of the time
- Being preoccupied with sexual fantasies or behaviors
- Experiencing relationship problems due to your sexual behaviors
- Declining emotional health
- Problems occurring do to your sexual behavior, yet you continue to do them
- Losing interest in things you once enjoyed, as you obsess about sexual encounters
- Engaging in illegal activities because of your sexual behavior
It’s not that most people want to be sex addicts. Just as if they don’t want to be an alcohol or drug addict. Their brain becomes accustomed to the high that they get when they have these sexual thoughts or behaviors. It’s that huge dopamine rush that comes just like when you take a hit of a drug. Their brain gets addicted to that and associates that with the sexual act. They promise themselves they will stop doing the behavior, but find themselves doing it repeatedly and often times more frequently.
What are the causes of sex addiction?
The causes of sex addiction are much like the causes of any other addiction. Oftentimes, the underlying issues could be depression, anxiety, a great amount of pain or loss experienced, fear, boredom, early childhood trauma or neglect, trauma later in life, and so on. Sex addicts look to sex in order to feel better, but the reality is that just like any drug, that feeling better is temporary, followed by a period of remorse, shame, and other negative emotions.
Getting to the root of the issue
Many times, under any addiction, there are core issues that need to be dealt with. They may have experienced some sort of abuse or trauma as a child, including physical and sexual abuse or neglect. It’s not enough just for men and women to stop acting on the addiction. It’s important to start digging into the deeper issues and beginning healing there at the emotional and mental level.
This is why it’s important to see a substance abuse or mental health professional. Being able to diagnose the underlying condition can help a person to begin healing and processing the root issues or trauma that has occurred. When people skip this and just try to drop the drugs or sex, their chances of relapse increase significantly.
Intensive treatment may be necessary
When you’re dealing with addiction, especially a sex and drug addiction, it may be necessary for a person to receive intensive treatment. This can occur at an alcohol or drug rehab facility that is staffed with substance abuse professionals and Mental Health Counselors. There you will be able to attend a detox and allow your body to detox from the drugs. You will be able to have a complete medical evaluation and mental health assessment. You’ll also be able to have the opportunity to meet with a counselor and begin discussing your emotional and mental health. You’ll be able to learn about the disease of addiction and what you can do to foster a life without relying on a substance or sex to numb the pain or fill a void.
If you cannot attend an inpatient treatment center, many facilities offer outpatient services for drug and sex addiction. This means that you will attend to the facility a few times a week in order to receive treatment. You will still be able to meet with substance abuse professionals and counselors in order to get to the root of the addiction and learn how to navigate life sober and free. You may also be introduced to a 12-step group like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous.
Self-help support groups
If you can get to a treatment center, experts assert that that is your best bet to get a head start on recovering from the disease of addiction. Having a sex addiction and a drug addiction problem can be very challenging to stop on your
own. There’s no shame in that. The faster you come to the realization that you need help in order to quit, the faster you can start to experience peace and joy. The faster you can begin to get your life back and feel more in control of it.
But you cannot attend a treatment center forever, so it is valuable to begin researching how you will get support for yourself when you’re through with treatment. Good news is that there are self-help support groups available that you can attend for as little or as long as you need in order to continue your recovery in a successful manner
Sex addicts anonymous is a 12-step group for those who struggle with sex addiction. This group is based upon the same type of principles that you’d find in any other 12-step group. You meet with others who have the desire to stop acting on their sexual desires and begin to heal any issues underneath that addiction. There are meetings in various communities in the United States and in various other countries. There are also telephone and web-based meetings. The meetings are free and most of them involve both men and women. However, there are some meetings that only have one sex, for those who do not want to have the temptation of having opposite sex in the same meeting. It also makes it easier to talk among your own sex more openly.
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous
If you are trying to recover from alcoholism or drug addiction, consider attending either Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. In many cities, there are multiple meetings held throughout the day and evening. There you can find a support system that will help you continue your recovery once you’re through with rehab. You will be able to get a sponsor/mentor and work through the 12 Steps one by one.
You’ll have the opportunity to share at meetings, as well as listen to those who have been or are in your shoes. Working the steps should be able to help you begin to understand yourself better and learn to navigate life without relying on a substance. Those that truly work the program have gained quite a bit of insight and freedom.
You’re not alone
If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug addiction or sex addiction, know that you’re not alone. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, as addiction is a disease just like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. There is treatment available for the disease of addiction, but you must reach out and ask for that treatment in order for it to work.
Just like if you had diabetes and we’re prescribed medication, there is medication for addiction as well. Substance abuse professionals will treat you with therapy, and sometimes medication. Another form of treatment is support groups and educating yourself on the disease of addiction and recovery.
It’s time to make a call today and take your first step toward recovery. They may be challenging, but know that as you take your first step toward getting your life back, others will meet you just where you are with unconditional love. You deserve to have an amazing life full of peace and joy. You deserve to have a life that is free from the prison of addiction. Begin to look at your addiction through the lens of science, understanding that this is a brain issue and there is treatment or medicine to treat it. But you must reach out for help. Do your part and allow experts to do their part.
Nothing changes if nothing changes. So, change something up today and determine exactly how you will reach out for help in your recovery.