7 Valuable Do's And Don'ts After Discovering Your Partner's Sex Addiction
When you find out about your partner's sex addiction, the dominant emotion you may feel is shock. Of course, you're also likely to experience confusion, sadness, fear, anger, and betrayal. Likewise, you may get stuck in a state of denial. In an instant, it may seem like your world flipped upside-down. Like many, you may be struggling to comprehend or accept the reality of your partner's sex addiction.
There are many ways to respond to your partner; some may be helpful, and some not so much. Ideally, the goal is to get through to your partner in an effective way. Likewise, you deserve to know you are not to blame for their choices. Sex addiction comes with a unique set of challenges that can be difficult to overcome.
Let's highlight 7 valuable do's and don'ts that you may find helpful after discovering your partner has a sex addiction.
What is Sex Addiction?
According to Webmd.com, sex addiction is the lack of control over sexual urges, thoughts, and impulses. Sex addiction also refers to excessive sexual behaviors that are negatively impacting a person's life. The problem, however, is that defining excessive can be subjective. At the same time, culture or societal norms may dictate acceptable behaviors. Therefore, there remains controversy surrounding the definition or diagnosis of sex addiction.
Another indicator of sex addiction is when the compulsion to respond to an impulse outweighs any risk or consequence. Often, a person with this addiction will try to stop but realize they cannot. Likewise, over time behaviors may become more frequent, intense, or risky as the body naturally builds up a tolerance to the stimulus.
7 Powerful Do's and Don'ts if Your Partner has a Sex Addiction
Do set boundaries and hold them. A relationship with a partner who has a sex addiction comes with unique challenges. Therefore, it will be vital to determine boundaries and consequences, such as requiring your partner to attend therapy.
Do follow through with consequences. When it comes to addiction, sometimes hitting rock bottom leads to recovery. Following through with consequences may serve as motivation to reach and maintain sobriety.
Do seek support for yourself. Having a partner who has a sex addiction can feel lonely and isolating. Likewise, a solid support system may help you manage the emotional distress you're facing.
Consider therapy. Seeing a professional sex therapist who works with addiction may be the best gift you can give yourself. Likewise, they can provide helpful tools, insight, and best practices to help you through this journey.
Do consider getting tested for STDs. In addition to taking care of your mental health, your physical health is also crucial. Getting a screening is vital so that you know what you may be dealing with.
Don't believe that sex will fix the problem. Offering more frequent or certain types of sex will not cure your partner's addiction. Likewise, remember neither you nor your actions are to blame for your partner's choices.
Don't get caught in the spiral of "what if." The reality of addiction is it's not about you. Your partner makes choices based on satisfying their addiction. As a result, they'll engage in behaviors regardless of anything you may or may not do. Partners of sex addicts can easily fall into the vicious cycle of asking "What if" questions. So, try to avoid the trap of questions such as:
What if I would have
If only I looked
What if I'm more
What if I spent less time
Where can I find help for my partner's sex addiction?
At Paradise Creek Recovery Center, we specialize in sex addiction treatment. Likewise, we aim to include partners on the journey to recovery. You deserve help and support as you face the difficult journey that lies ahead.
Contact us today to learn more about the treatment plans we offer.
The Spooky Myths of Sexual Addiction You Should Know About
Halloween will be here quickly, so it seems fitting to talk about some of the spooky myths of sexual addiction. For example, one of the myths we'll tackle is that women do not face sex addiction. While it's predominantly a male issue, women can definitely develop a sexual addiction.
Another myth we'll discuss is that sexual addiction is just a term people use to describe those who crave sex. Although it's not in the DSM, research seems to be gaining momentum. Studies indicate sexual addiction activates the reward system in the brain the same way many other addictions do. Thus, showing the process is similar to that of other addictions. Likewise, we know the effects of sex addiction can be as devastating as other addictions.
Let's talk a little bit more about some of the myths of sexual addiction.
Scary Myths of Sexual Addiction
One myth is that sexual addiction is simply a way for people to say they love and crave sex. However, this isn't true. Sexual addiction often forms, like other addictions, around emotions. It can creep into your life and take control long before you realize it's happening.
Often, addiction stems from an emotional imbalance and a desire to satisfy it. Examples can include boredom, depression, anxiety, stress, fear, or feelings of inadequacy or lack of love or acceptance. Regarding sexual addiction, the need is fulfilled by a sexual act of some sort. Then, when the need arises again, it's easy for the brain to crave the same sexual behavior to fulfill it. Over time, these behaviors become more compulsive as the addiction takes form.
Now that we know women develop sexual addictions, let's address a few more of these myths regarding women. First is the myth that sex addiction is all about being sexually intimate. In reality, the issues revolve around emotions. For men and women alike, it's common for the addiction to start to form by viewing pornography. It can lead to infidelity and then to riskier behaviors to fulfill compulsive needs.
Common reasons women develop sex addiction include a desperate need for love, affection, and acceptance. For many, being sought after or wanted for sexual behaviors can drown out feelings of abandonment. Hence, risky sexual compulsions meet and fulfill emotional needs.
For more information regarding women and sex addiction, you can read our blog post here.
Another myth is that sex addiction, and porn addiction are the same thing. Although they have many similarities, the specific addictive behaviors are what make them different.
Where Can I Get Help for My Sexual Addiction?
If you are living with sexual addiction, the scariest thing may be your reality that you can't stop. However, if you're ready to get help, there are options available.
At Paradise Creek Recovery Center, we work with clients who live with sex and porn addictions every day. We would love to work with you and help you recover for life. Call us today.
Discovering the Painful Relationship Between Infidelity and Addiction
Infidelity is when one breaks a commitment of trust with their partner. When it happens in the movies, we see people move through the process of the betrayal within an hour and a half's time. Yet, in reality, one may never heal. What drives a partner to a place where they'll break trust? What role, if any, does addiction play in infidelity?
An article by Psychology Today says that statistics regarding infidelity may be shocking. In fact, they say 57% of men and 54% of women admit to infidelity. A multitude of variables can contribute to what leads another to cheat or break their commitment. Among the list, research indicates addiction is a common denominator to adultery and vice versa.
Let's discuss the unhealthy relationship between addiction and infidelity.
What are Examples of Infidelity?
By definition, infidelity is the act of being unfaithful to a partner with whom there is a level of commitment and trust. Likewise, it can include both sexual and emotional encounters. However, what one couple defines as inappropriate behavior can differ significantly from another. As such, it's important to discuss and determine what cheating or infidelity may look like within your relationship.
The behaviors that can lead to a betrayal of trust can also vary. For example, many would consider the following actions as cheating:
Sexual relations (holding hands, kissing, etc.) outside of the relationship
Spending money on someone you may have or be developing feelings for, outside of the relationship
Offering emotional support to someone you're interested in, outside of the relationship
Withholding information or lying about activities with another person from your partner
Engaging with another to meet your sexual or emotional needs
There are many more circumstances that can lead to feelings of betrayal or rejection within a relationship. As such, it's a good idea to sit down with your partner and communicate your expectations to one another.
The Ugly Relationship Between Infidelity and Addiction
Lies and secrecy can quickly spiral out of control. Addiction seems to accelerate these behaviors. For example, porn and sex addictions can lead to infidelity. The problem with addiction is your brain builds up a tolerance to behaviors that lead to a release of endorphins. As a result, actions tend to become riskier in order to satisfy a craving. Over time, those actions could very well lead you to infidelity.
Addiction is when you're trapped in a cycle of behaviors you can't seem to escape, even if you want to. When triggers come, it may seem as though nothing else matters. As a result, you may find yourself engaging in sexual relations outside of your relationship and wonder how you've ended up in such a place. Although the road to healing and recovery is challenging, there is a way to turn your life around.
Ultimately, whether the betrayal is a deal-breaker or not will be something you and your partner decide. Keep in mind; there are many therapists who specialize in treatment for porn and sex addiction. Many also work with couples to help them through the painful process of healing after infidelity.
At Paradise Creek Recovery Center, we know the heartache and turmoil infidelity and addiction have on relationships. We're here to help you through the process of healing and recovery. Please, call us today.
The Interesting Link Between Porn Addiction and Depression
Research surrounding porn addiction is limited. Although studies indicate a link between porn addiction and depression, there isn't enough evidence to prove it. However, the lack of an official diagnosis is one reason why there's a lack of funding for research.
According to Medical News Today, there are not enough specific criteria to identify the addiction as a mental health issue. Likewise, there's no conclusive evidence to link issues like depression and porn addiction. However, there does seem to be a consistent correlation between the two.
Let's discuss what we may know about depression and porn addiction.
Porn Addiction and Depression
In this article by Medical News Today, they discuss various studies that connect porn use and depression. In fact, they cite studies that indicate viewing porn may lead to symptoms of depression. For example, in a 2019 study, depression seems to increase the risk of addiction among those who view it to escape emotions.
There seems to be an interesting connection between depression and prolonged exposure. A 2017 study found 14.6% of those who view porn more than three times a week reported symptoms of depression. In contrast, 2.8% of those viewing pornography less than once a week reported symptoms. Furthermore, they retested, adding in improved physical activity and sleep patterns. However, the correlation between the frequency of pornography use and depression remained. As a result, the study concluded more frequent use of pornography leads to an increase in negative emotions.
Another key factor connecting pornography and depression is personal beliefs. For example, those who feel viewing pornography is morally wrong are more likely to experience shame and guilt after doing so. As a result, they are more likely to develop symptoms of anxiety and depression.
So, what is the most interesting link between porn addiction and depression?
The reality is, we simply do not have conclusive, scientific proof. As a taboo subject, porn addiction makes the process of gathering data for research more difficult. Between cultural differences and a lack of evidence, porn addiction may remain controversial for some time.
However, we do know many people struggle with an inability to control urges to view pornography and are desperate to stop. This is what makes porn addiction real and destructive. As the brain builds up a tolerance, content tends to be more explicit, and behaviors may become more risky. The good news is, treatment may help you escape from the vicious cycle of addiction.
Interestingly enough, there is a wide variety of therapeutic approaches to help with porn addiction. Even without a clear definition or formal diagnosis, treatment centers are widely available. All around the world, therapists are eager to help clients get their life back. Reaching and maintaining recovery is possible.
If you are eager to overcome your porn addiction, we may be able to help. Paradise Creek Recovery Center is a world-class residential treatment center. We specialize in sex and porn addiction treatment. We're here to help you acquire new skills and tools. Likewise, we want to help restore hope and peace in your life. Call us today.
3 Helpful Ways to Support Your Spouse Entering an Addiction Treatment Center
Without a doubt, having a loved one in an addiction treatment center can be a rewarding and challenging situation. Now will be a good time to begin working through your healing process. But, what else will be vital to you and your spouse's success?
Although you're aware of the difficult task at hand, you feel comfortable standing by your spouse through this process. So, what is your role as your spouse enters an addiction treatment center? Is there anything you can do that may increase the chances of a successful outcome?
In this article, we'll discuss your role as your spouse prepares to enter an addiction treatment center.
Going to an addiction treatment center requires a leap of faith that can be frightening.
When your spouse agrees to seek help, you may feel reluctant to celebrate. After all, you've had commitments that have led to relapse time and time again. As such, you may not allow yourself to get your hopes up.
Likewise, entering an addiction treatment center can be frightening and full of uncertainty. On the contrary, it may provide reason to feel hopeful and optimistic. After all, it's often said admitting that the addiction is controlling your life and you need help is the hardest step. So, taking the next step to do something about it is could be a sign that this time could be different.
What is your role in helping make the addiction center experience successful?
We often hear, "The only thing you can control is yourself." and it's true. Now, with your spouse in treatment, you can spend some much-needed time on you. For example, now would be a great time to embrace self-care and focus on the healing process for yourself and your family.
Next, it won't be hard for you to recognize old behaviors that could signal a relapse. With that in mind, determine what boundaries will need to be set and the consequences that will follow.
Finally, identify areas you can improve. This may include ways you can refine your communication skills. Likewise, it may be working on restoring your self-esteem or self-confidence. It could consist of finding a hobby that you enjoy or working on wholehearted healing. All of these can contribute to a successful outcome after your spouse leaves the addiction treatment center.
3 Ways to Show Support While Your Spouse is in an Addiction Treatment Center
A key component of recovery is a solid support system. Examples include online support groups, outpatient therapy, and family support.
Let's discuss 3 ways you can show support through the addiction treatment center program and at home.
Prepare a Plan
The risk of relapse is high after leaving an addiction treatment center. So, preparing clear boundaries and consequences is an important part of the relapse prevention plan. A plan that includes new routines may also be helpful. Your therapist may also provide ideas to include in your plan.
Participate in Their Rehabilitation.
Your spouse's addiction treatment center program likely includes family therapy sessions. An essential part of your partner's recovery will be your ability to help carry out a new way of life together. As such, both of you will need new tools and strategies to turn to as you move forward together.
By participating, you can learn what to expect after the addiction treatment center. You may also learn skills to help you learn how to offer support while also getting your needs met.
Gain understanding, clarity, and compassion.
Understanding can lead to compassion and empathy. Life before treatment was likely emotionally and physically exhausting. As a result, you may have built up feelings of anger and resentment, and understandably so. Therefore, your ability to work through your feelings can allow both of you to find compassion for each other. Empathy helps create an environment conducive to healing.
The task at hand is not an easy one. Supporting a loved one at an addiction treatment center has its challenges. At Paradise Creek Treatment Center, we incorporate family participation into our program. We understand the unique and vital role you play in your spouse's success. We look forward to working with both of you on this journey toward recovery.
Revealing the Connection Between Depression and Addiction
You've been living with your addiction for a while now. However, every attempt at rehab or recovery continues to fall short. But why? Could a mental health issue like anxiety or depression be driving your addiction?
Mental health issues are common. Disorders such as depression and anxiety can lead to thoughts and emotions that leave you wanting to escape or numb out. As a result, addictive behaviors have turned into destructive addiction. So, why isn't rehab helping you overcome your addiction for good?
In this article, we'll discuss why depression or anxiety may be keeping you from enjoying the benefits of addiction recovery.
Could Depression Be Driving My Addiction?
Before we discuss if depression could be driving your addiction, let's first define what depression is.
All of us experience bad days. Likewise, we may have periods of sadness, grief, or frustration. However, there's a difference between a few bad days and depression. The key difference is it lasts for at least two weeks. Likewise, symptoms interfere with your ability to function and maintain everyday life. The following are symptoms you may experience daily:
sleeplessness or oversleeping
lack of or increase in appetite
feelings of guilt or hopelessness
no longer interested in things you once loved
anger or irritability
thoughts of suicide
There are many symptoms of depression. Therefore, symptoms can appear differently from person to person. However, a good indication to determine if you're sad or if it may be something more is whether you're able to go to work or engage in social activities. If you're turning to addictive behaviors to bury your emotions, seeking professional support is vital.
The Vicious Cycle of Depression and Addiction
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 10 percent of Americans suffer from depression.
Addiction is common among people who are struggling with depression. For example, you may reach for drugs or alcohol to lift your spirits or numb your emotions. Similarly, you may turn to your porn or sex addiction to combat negative feelings. As a result, addiction and depression follow each other into a vicious cycle—both making a difficult situation worse.
Suppose you have both an addiction and mental health issue. Then, you likely have what's called a dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis is a combination of a mental disorder and an addiction such as sex, drugs, or alcohol.
Depression not only impacts your happiness but can also impact your safety. Likewise, it can weaken your immune system. However, adding addiction to the mix increases the risks to both your physical and emotional health. So, as day-to-day activities become unbearable, turning to porn or sex addiction may seem like the only way to escape. However, it's only temporary. Once the negative feelings return, you find yourself needing to turn to your addiction to quiet your thoughts or numb them out. As a result, the vicious cycle continues.
I May Have An Addiction and Depression, Is There Help For Me?
The good news is, there are specialized treatment centers that can help you address both your addiction and depression. A dual diagnosis can be complex, especially when it involves porn or sex addiction. Addressing both issues will be crucial to interrupting the cycle you're stuck in. For example, if you're unable to address your depression, it's likely to continue to drive your addiction and vice versa. However, with the right help, you can learn the skills necessary to have the enjoyable and hopeful life you deserve.
At Paradise Creek Recovery Center, we understand the importance of addressing all of the issues that may be present. Our therapists are trained to address and treat dual diagnoses. As you work toward recovery from your porn or sex addiction, it will be just as crucial to learn skills to help you manage any mental health issues. We would love to help you on your journey toward hope and healing. Please visit our website or call us to learn more.
How Can Innocent Curiosity Lead to a Full Blown Porn Addiction?
Your parents may have worked tirelessly to set up filters and block adult content from making its way onto your screen. Likewise, they may have taught you all the reasons why to avoid pornography. However, years later, you find yourself living with a porn addiction and wondering how this all happened.
As easy access to pornography increases, so does the risk of porn addiction. Through research, we continue to find similarities between porn addiction and other addictions. Research provides insight into why porn addictions may form. As a result, we're learning more about what's behind the powerful force of pornography that keeps addicts entangled in the web of addiction.
In this article, we'll talk about porn addiction. We'll also discuss some of the possibilities that may indicate where your porn addiction began.
What is porn addiction?
Porn addiction is the compulsive urge to view pornography. There's a big difference between porn addiction and viewing pornography, and that's control. For example, you may not want to view porn anymore, but intense thoughts drive you back to view more. Likewise, there may be negative consequences that follow your addictive behaviors, but the risks don't deter you.
One of the main characteristics of any addiction is the inability to control compulsive urges. You want to stop viewing pornography, but you can't. Likewise, when life, or areas of life, become unmanageable without the behavior or substance, it's likely an addiction.
While there is not a specific diagnosis in the DSM, the characteristics and symptoms can be as destructive as any other addiction. Like other addictions, people face the same challenges as they work toward recovery.
The good news is, although the APA doesn't recognize porn addiction, many other professionals and organizations do. As a result, help to regain control of your life may be a few clicks away.
Where Do Porn Addictions Start?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding whether porn addiction is real. For example, some feel there is a lack of scientific evidence to support a specific diagnosis. Some studies even discredit other reports by presenting research that seems to be in opposition to others. The good news is, there are many professionals who treat this as an addiction.
What does scientific evidence seem to show? Like many addictions, your genetics predispose you to addictive behaviors. As such, you can become addicted rather quickly, including to pornography. How? As your body reacts to images on a screen, chemicals release. Then, your brain sends a signal that you want to experience that feeling again. Research indicates porn activates the reward system in the brain, similar to some drug addictions. With the ease of accessibility, it's no wonder why the number of people seeking treatment is rising. Imagine a seven or eight-year-old child who keeps their viewing a secret for years. Their innocent curiosity could easily lead to porn addiction before they reach adulthood.
Other factors influence your susceptibility to addiction. For example, mental health issues come into play. Some turn to pornography to fill a void or escape feelings of depression or anxiety.
An important part of recovery is getting to the root of the problem. In other words, processing the 'why' behind your porn addiction is vital to your success. For some, it may be due to simple curiosity. For others, however, the issues may be much deeper.
Regardless of the 'why,' treatment may offer you hope. You deserve to regain the freedom and control you once enjoyed. At Paradise Creek Recovery Center, we are here to help you through the healing and recovery process of porn addiction. Visit our website to learn more.
3 Ideas to Help Ring in the New Year Without Your Porn Addiction
For many of us, seeing 2020 come to an end is going to be a joyous occasion. With 2021 on the horizon, you may be thinking about goals you want to set and achieve over the next year. For example, you are ready to say goodbye to your porn addiction. Yet, you wonder, with all the stress that continues to surround you, if recovery is possible.
Like any addiction, porn addiction is a difficult one to beat. However, you feel ready to take on the challenge and have high hopes for recovery. After all, you're eager to experience life without your porn addiction in 2021. So, what can you do to begin this journey? Where do you start?
Let's discuss porn addiction. We'll provide 3 ideas that may help you move toward porn addiction recovery as you ring in the new year.
What is porn addiction?
Technically speaking, you won't find porn addiction in the official diagnosis book known as the DSM. However, many clinicians will tell you, porn addiction is as real as any other addiction. The damaging effects and changes to the brain it can cause are also just as real.
Porn addiction is the uncontrollable compulsive urge to view pornography. While the intent may be to stop, when thoughts come to turn to porn, they are often so intense that opting out is no longer a simple task. Instead, life, or areas of life, become unmanageable without it. Over time, many begin to choose porn over family, work, vacation time, and anything else. It can change the way your brain intakes, processes, and stores information. Likewise, it can damage relationships, sometimes beyond repair.
However, there is hope. Millions of people are living life in recovery and enjoying the freedoms that come with it. With the right tools, porn addiction recovery is attainable.
3 Ideas to Help you Begin Your Journey Toward Porn Addiction Recovery
Commit to recovery. If your goal is to overcome your addiction, the first thing you can do is tell someone. Like many addictions, secrets, lies, and hidden agendas often accompany porn addiction. So, the first thing you can do is tell your partner, friend, or loved one you're ready to get help. Then, commit to recovery every morning of every day from here on out. While the journey won't be easy, knowing your commitment starts over every day can be a great first step.
Set Filters and Delete Apps. The next idea to help you on your path toward recovery is to limit access. After you tell your loved one about your desire for help and commitment to recovery, then it's time to delete everything you can. For example, delete saved websites, accounts, and apps. Then, you can ask someone to install an anti-porn filter on every device in your home, but they'll need to keep the password to themselves. Remember to include any children's devices too.
Come up with a plan to fill your time. It would be wonderful if a solid commitment and deleting access to porn is all it takes to achieve recovery. However, that's just helping you set up your line of defense. The intense work begins with that first trigger. For example, the initial thought, urge, and desire to turn to your porn addiction will likely come with great intensity. So, what can you do? You can come up with ways to distract. Examples include having a support person to talk to, exercise, journaling, and avoiding isolation. Any healthy, reliable idea is worth writing down. Over time, you'll have a list of options to turn to to help keep you safe from relapse.
I'm Committed to Porn Addiction Recovery, but I Need More Help
Another similarity between porn addiction and other addictions is the need for help. Many addictions are extremely difficult to overcome without support. So, you could reach out to a support group. Likewise, you could seek a professional therapist who specializes in porn addiction treatment.
There are many ways to overcome your addiction and achieve your goal of recovery. An essential part of your success will be to have tools in place that work for you.
At Paradise Creek Recovery Center, we understand how complex porn addiction recovery can be. We help clients acquire the tools they'll need for success. We may be able to help you ring in the new year with a relapse prevention plan in place. Likewise, we would love to see if we can help you find success on your journey toward recovery. Call us today.
How Does Mindfulness Affect Addiction Treatment?
Mindfulness As An Addiction Treatment
Mindfulness is an addiction therapy that is proving to be successful at preventing relapse, and that can be integrated into other treatment programs. It is something that can learned and performed anywhere. One of the reasons mindfulness may contribute to sobriety is that it provides a healthy way to deal with and reduce stress1 and can increase self-acceptance2.
What is it? One definition describes it as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally”3. Essentially, it is consciously being aware of how and who and what you are right now, and doing so without judging yourself. Other ways of describing or thinking about mindfulness are “objectivity”, “neutralness”, “observing without judgment”, and “self-observing”. In mindfulness, you become an objective observer or scientist, consciously becoming aware of yourself, your experience, and your surroundings.
The idea of what we now call “mindfulness” is not new. Hundreds of years ago, Leonardo da Vinci stated, “An average human looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odour or fragrance, and talks without thinking.” In other words, the average human is not mindful. When we become mindful--when we become aware of what we are doing and experiencing--our human experience becomes richer and more meaningful.
While there are multiple elements of mindfulness--including observing, savoring, meditating and breathing--conscious, non-judgmental observation is its core. Whether you are at a party, at work, out with friends, or at home, you can choose to intentionally notice the sensations you are experiencing and the thoughts you are thinking. How does your food taste? What do your fingers feel as they move around the keyboard clicking keys? What is it like being with your friend? What emotions are you feeling? Simply be aware of what is going on, without passing judgment.
You can use mindfulness to examine how your own addiction works or relapse occurs, and to stop them. In an article in The Fix, Jenifer Talley says, “The process of becoming nonjudgmentally aware of the components of a compulsion weakens its power. That’s why increasing numbers of clinicians are eagerly incorporating mindfulness into the treatment of substance use disorders, eating disorders, sex addiction and other compulsive behaviors.”4
Observe Instead of React
One of the ways this works is by helping the person become aware of what is going on, and instead of reacting, to continue observing. Since cravings are temporary, by watching, one can become aware of what triggers the craving, of the craving itself, and then of the craving’s abatement without actually giving in to the craving.
Judson Brewer M.D. Ph.D. puts it this way, “mindfulness helps individuals pay careful attention to their cravings, such that they can see what they are made up of – thoughts and body sensations. Importantly, with this awareness, they can notice cravings as they arise, see how they change from moment to moment (instead of lasting “forever” as some of my patients have described), and as a result, stay with them and ride them out instead of acting on them.”5
You can practice mindfulness throughout the day by asking yourself intentional questions such as: What emotions am I feeling? What sensations is my body experiencing presently? What am I thinking? As you observe your thoughts, you can intentionally decide whether or not to believe them.
Mindfulness is one of the therapies that Paradise Creek teaches at its recovery center for sexual addiction. Call (855) 442-1912 to learn more.
Do You Have Addiction Interaction Disorder?
Addiction Interaction Disorder
Many people with a sexual addiction also experience one or more other addictions or compulsive behaviors. And if they don’t have another addiction co-occuring with the sex addiction, the other addiction(s) can occur once the sex addiction has been stopped. These addictions can interact or replace each other, and “fuse” together. This is called Addiction Interaction Disorder (AID), and is something that every person with a possible addiction needs to be aware of.
In the words of Patrick J. Carnes, “Addictions more than coexist, they interact, reinforce, become part of one another. They become packages.”1 Thus, if a person has a sex addiction, the existence of other addictions and the risk of future addictions need to be screened. Additionally, since the addictions in an interaction disorder seem to have common causes, those causes--and not just the addictions--need to be treated. When there is AID, if multiple addictions are not included in the treatment plan and the causes of addiction are not addressed, then chances for recovery will be reduced.
There are multiple ways in which addictions can interact with each other. We’ll briefly describe a few of them.
Replacing One Addiction For Another
First, they can replace one another. In this case, a person may “recover” from one addiction and replace it with another addiction, either right away, or after some time. For example, a person with a sex addiction can ostensibly recover, having healthy, monogamous sex, but replace the addiction with another addiction such as compulsive work or gambling, thus perpetuating risky and dangerous behavior.
If the replacement occurs quickly and the new addiction is participated in at high levels, this is a sign of cross-tolerance. In other words, a person has a high tolerance for one addiction, and when he starts the new addiction, his tolerance level for it is already high.
Another form of cross-tolerance is when the tolerance for two or more addictions increases at the same time. Examples of this are having an increasing number of sexual encounters while also drinking more often, or both compulsively spending more money and eating more food.
One Addiction To Lessen Withdrawals From Another
Third, addictions can mediate withdrawals. The example set forth in “Bargains With Chaos: Sex Addicts and Addiction Interaction Disorder” by Patrick Carnes, et al., is of alcoholics smoking at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.2 The cigarettes ease the pain of alcohol withdrawal, but are still an addiction and still constitute a health risk.
Simultaneous Addictive Behavior
Fourth, addictions can “fuse” or become dependent on each other to create the necessary reward. Fusion describes when addictions are engaged in at the same time. Examples would be when a person always drinks when he gambles, but never drinks or gambles without doing the other, or when he smokes while compulsively shopping online. Says Carnes, “Neither addiction separately is sufficient: only simultaneous use suffices.”2
There are other ways in which addictions can interact, but those presented above give an idea of the importance of addressing Addiction Interaction Disorder in any therapy program. As can be seen, a person seeking to overcome sex addiction will be best served when screened for multiple addictions and for the risk of future addictions. The results of the screening should then be included in a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses (1) all the client’s addictions, and (2) the causes of those addictions.
Paradise Creek screens for AID and when indicated, incorporates the screening’s results into its treatment plans. You can call Paradise Creek at (855) 442-1912 for more information.
1Carnes, Patrick J., PhD. “Addiction Interaction Disorder: Understanding Multiple Addictions.” http://www.iitap.com/images/Addiction_Interaction_Disorder101.ppt. Power Point file.
2Carnes, Patrick, Robert Murray, Louis Charpentier. “Bargains With Chaos: Sex Addicts and Addiction Interaction Disorder.” Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 12:79–120, 2005.