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What Causes Sexual Addiction?

Posted on August 1, 2011 at 7:27 PM Comments comments (0)

(from psychcentral.com)

 

What Causes Sexual Addiction?

By Michael Herkov, Ph.D


Why some people, and not others, develop an addiction to sex is poorly understood. Possibly some biochemical abnormality or other brain changes increase risk. The fact that antidepressants and other psychotropic medications have proven effective in treating some people with sex addiction suggests that this might be the case.


Studies indicate that food, abused drugs and sexual interests share a common pathway within our brains’ survival and reward systems. This pathway leads into the area of the brain responsible for our higher thinking, rational thought and judgment.


The brain tells the sex addict that having illicit sex is good the same way it tells others that food is good when they are hungry. These brain changes translate into a sex addict’s preoccupation with sex and exclusion of other interests, compulsive sexual behavior despite negative consequences and failed attempts to limit or terminate sexual behavior.


This biochemical model helps explain why competent, intelligent, goal-directed people can be so easily sidetracked by drugs and sex. The idea that, on a daily basis, a successful mother or father, doctor or businessperson can drop everything to think about sex, scheme about sex, identify sexual opportunities and take advantage of them seems unbelievable. How can this be?


The addicted brain fools the body by producing intense biochemical rewards for this self-destructive behavior.


People addicted to sex get a sense of euphoria from it that seems to go beyond that reported by most people. The sexual experience is not about intimacy. Addicts use sexual activity to seek pleasure, avoid unpleasant feelings or respond to outside stressors, such as work difficulties or interpersonal problems. This is not unlike how an alcoholic uses alcohol. In both instances, any reward gained from the experience soon gives way to guilt, remorse and promises to change.


Research also has found that sex addicts often come from dysfunctional families and are more likely than non-sex addicts to have been abused. One study found that 82 percent of sex addicts reported being sexually abused as children. Sex addicts often describe their parents as rigid, distant and uncaring. These families, including the addicts themselves, are more likely to be substance abusers. One study found that 80 percent of recovering sex addicts report some type of addiction in their families of origin."


Treatment for Sexual Addiction

Posted on May 20, 2011 at 5:24 AM Comments comments (0)

12-Step Programs

Twelve-step programs, such as Sexaholics Anonymous, apply principles similar to those used in other addiction programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. However, unlike AA, where the goal is complete abstinence from all alcohol, SA pursues abstinence only from compulsive, destructive sexual behavior. By admitting powerlessness over their addictions, seeking the help of God or a higher power, following the required steps, seeking a sponsor and regularly attending meetings, many addicts have been able to regain intimacy in their personal relationships.

Cognitive-Behavior Therapy

This approach looks at what triggers and reinforces actions related to sexual addiction and looks for methods of short-circuiting the process. Treatment approaches include teaching addicts to stop sexual thoughts by thinking about something else; substituting sexual behavior with some other behavior, such as exercising or working out; and preventing the relapse of addictive behavior.

Interpersonal Therapy

People addicted to sex often have significant emotional baggage from their early lives. Traditional “talk therapy” can be helpful in increasing self control and in treating related mood disorders and effects of past trauma.

Group Therapy

Group therapy typically consists of a health care professional working with a group of between six and10 patients. Working with other addicts allows you to see that your problem is not unique. It also enables you to learn about what works and what doesn’t from others’ experiences, and draw on others’ strengths and hopes. A group format is ideal for confronting the denial and rationalizations common among addicts. Such confrontation from other addicts is powerful not only for the addict being confronted, but also for the person doing the confronting, who learns how personal denial and rationalization sustained addiction.

Medication

Recent research suggests that antidepressants may be useful in treating sexual addiction. In addition to treating mood symptoms common among sex addicts, these medications may have some benefit in reducing sexual obsessions.


(from psychcentral)

 


You're Like a Drug, Literally

Posted on May 16, 2011 at 12:27 AM Comments comments (0)

An orgasm is like a shot of cocaine or vice versa...


"intravenous injection of cocaine, which rapidly increases the release of dopamine at its neuronal terminals in the forebrain, can induce the 'cocaine rush' that individuals report as feeling similar to genital orgasm (Miller & Gold, 1988 )"


Wow....


(from scienceblog)