Music Therapy at Paradise Creek Recovery Center with Heather Overly, SCMT, CBMT
Over the past two decades, the exponential growth in research on substance use disorders (e.g. alcoholism, drug addiction) and process addictions (e.g. sex addiction, porn addiction, eating disorders, offending behaviors, etc.), as well as trauma, has encouraged clinicians to consider additional therapeutic interventions supportive of tapping into the brain’s neuroplasticity, for changing behaviors. Professionals are eager to find evidence based and research driven therapies, which invite and anchor healthy change. Paradise Creek Recovery Center (PCRC), a residential program for men with sex or porn addiction, offending behaviors or individuals on spectrum with problem sexual behaviors, has found a useful tool toward this goal by utilizing Music Therapy as one of the many helpful interventions.
Why music therapy?
There is growing body of research showing the benefits of the therapeutic integration of music. There are numerous TEDx talks sharing this research such as: Your Brain is Better on Music | Alex Doman | TEDx Ogden. He discusses his 25 years of research on music and its therapeutic benefits. Mr. Doman helps viewers to explore how as human’s we are “wired” for music’s positive effects of enhancing learning, emotion regulation, stress reduction, reducing depression and suicide, improving sleep, and many more…all by “engaging the whole of our brain.” - which music uniquely does.
Music therapy engages those areas of the brain supportive of positive change. It is invitational - individuals quickly realize participation in a rhythm, a tone or a lyric is experiential and fun, providing the participant to consider their particular experience of the session or sessions. The American Music Therapy Association® governs the professional standards of music therapy practice as “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs” of those served. It encourages clinicians in music therapy practice to participate and present research, supporting ongoing education of the mental health and medical communities at large. For more in depth information and useful research involving the use of music therapy as an approach on a broad range of behavioral and medical issues, please see the American Music Therapy Association® website.
Heather Overly, SCMT, CBMT
Since November of 2016, Heather Overly, SCMT, CBMT, has been the therapist providing music therapy for men at Paradise Creek Recovery Center. Heather meets weekly with PCRC men for a 90-minute group. She described the following benefits she sees in applying music therapy in treatment for sex and porn addiction, offending behaviors and those clients on the autism spectrum with problem sexual behaviors. “I see them internalizing and improving their motivation for recovery. Treatment for sex addiction is often externally motivated - music therapy can support the client’s ownership of why they are in treatment.” Music is also a way to safely experience emotional release, “music does it without words, but allows them to process with words as well.” Music therapy supports group cohesion and inclusivity with the emphasis of group strength - each understanding they’ve become a part of a greater whole. The client's stress and anxiety is reduced with music relaxation and movement exercises. Lyric analysis affords each participant to assign their own meaning, encouraging insight, self-awareness and self-reflection. Music therapy becomes a portable tool and coping skill, as they learn to play, express emotion, and self-sooth anger and anxiety. The participants also become more mindful of music they listen to. “We encourage them to develop a resiliency playlist. They become more aware of how music affects them. We see them discard a song and choose one more supportive of their recovery - that really makes me really happy.”
It's A New Day
The first music therapy assignment is the act of creating a positive affirmation chant, a unique way to set personal goals during their first week of treatment. Heather provides an easy to use template to start. The clients will then engage in writing their own chant the following week. This process continues throughout their treatment experience - with all of their music and lyrics being saved. During the last music therapy session, near treatment is completion, they share their first chant, followed by their most recent chant, and compare the two. “I often hear the comment, “I was so shallow.” Music therapy is only one of the current therapies helping each client have an overall great experience at PCRC. “I find the music therapy really brings the guys together in a shared experience as they write the lyrics - it becomes the concrete representation of their teamwork and shared trust, while acknowledging each participants contribution.” The overall experience of the process is carried together, both in and outside of therapy, as well as in individual and group sessions.
Ms. Overly found her passion while in school at Utah State University, achieving her BS in Music Therapy in 2001. “I learned about music therapy with older adults and had the opportunity to observe and learn how music therapy engages participants.” She has practiced utilizing drumming, music improvisation, song writing, lyric analysis, and client sharing meaningful songs with the group. “I love being able to see client responses and witness those special moments.” Review of research was valuable in shaping her approach and focus in music therapy, she says, seeing the evidence of positive change in motivation, social skills, self-awareness, emotion expression and regulation made an impact on her choice to pursue music therapy as a career.
Music Therapy Research
There is a vast array of research related to music therapy. The following are research articles on music therapy suggested by Heather, which you may find of interest:
Drumming and Improvisation with Adult Male Sexual Offenders-Dalena M. Watson
This article examines the music therapy drumming and improvisation treatment component designed for residential adult male sexual offenders. Techniques draw from rhythm-based music therapy, community drum circles, and music therapy improvisation with offender populations. Goal areas are intimacy, social skills, prosocial behavior, and awareness and expression of emotions. These goals parallel areas of need to reduce isk of recidivism. Staff observations and resident self-reports indicate progress toward all goals in addition to increased positive self-concept.
Effects of Group Songwriting on Motivation and Readiness for Treatment on Patients in Detoxification: A Randomized Wait-List Effectiveness Study- Michael J. Silverman, PhD, MT-BC
Journal of Music Therapy, Volume 49, Issue 4, Winter 2012, Pages 414–429, https://doi.org/10.1093/jmt/49.4.414
Results: There were significant between-group differences in motivation and readiness for treatment, with experimental participants having higher means than control participants. Code categorizations from patients' composed song lyrics concerned “action,” “emotions and feelings,” “change,” “reflection,” “admission,” and “responsibility.”
Conclusion: From the results of this study, it seems that a single group songwriting session can be an effective intervention concerning motivation and readiness for treatment in patients on a detoxification unit.
Effects of Lyric Analysis Interventions on Treatment Motivation in Patients on a Detoxification Unit: A Randomized Effectiveness Study-Michael J. Silverman, PhD, MT-BC
Journal of Music Therapy, Volume 52, Issue 1, Spring 2015, Pages 117–134
Results show that a single group-based music therapy lyric analysis session can be an effective psychosocial treatment intervention to enhance treatment motivation in patients on a detoxification unit. Results indicated significant between-group differences in measures of problem recognition, desire for help, treatment readiness, and total motivation, with experimental participants having higher treatment motivation means than control participants.
How To Get Help
For more information about Paradise Creek Recovery Center and our services for sex and porn addiction, offending behaviors or those on Autism Spectrum with problem sexual behaviors, please call 855.442.1912; or email email@example.com
We look forward to working with you!
Want Free Therapy For Addiction? Try Self-Compassion
What is self-compassion?
Multiple therapies can work together to overcome addiction. One of those therapies, which is free and can be used at any time, is self-compassion. While self-compassion by itself will not end an addiction, it is a useful tool for living a happier, healthier life and for changing the brain patterns associated with sexual addiction. Here, essentially, is what it is: treating yourself as you would treat a dear friend or loved one.
What would you do if your friend lost his job? What about if a significant other left him? Or what if he learned he had a debilitating disease? Would you chew him out or tell him that he shouldn’t feel bad? If he made a mistake, lost his temper, forgot something important, or wrecked the car, would you call him names and tell him he’s the only one in the world that does such things? Would you tell him over and over what a horrible or stupid person he is? Most likely, no.
Stop for a moment and think about what you would do.
Would you recognize how your friend might be feeling and feel some of his hurt yourself? Would you try to cheer him up? Would you remind him of the times he’s done things right or express confidence in his ability to get through the situation? Would you want him to be happy? This is compassion. When you feel and do these things for yourself, it is self-compassion.
How can I apply self-compassion in my life?
The age-old adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” applies not only to how we speak of others, but also how we speak and think about ourselves. Just as we have healthier relationships with others as we extend compassion, mercy and grace, overlooking their faults and focusing on their strengths, so too can our relationships with ourselves improve as we forgive ourselves and highlight our own strengths and accomplishments.
Thus, one way to apply self-compassion in our own lives is to be aware of and intentionally modify how we talk and think about ourselves. Choose to think positively. Choose to speak positively.
This is not about being blind to what you are going through or pretending you aren’t feeling your emotions. Rather it is about choosing where to put your focus. For example, if you don’t want to get out of bed and you feel as though you no longer want to exist, but you get out of bed anyway, you could (A) berate yourself for how you feel, or (B) congratulate yourself for having the strength to get up when you don’t want to. (Or, if you didn’t get out of bed, you could (A) berate yourself for how you feel, or (B) congratulate yourself for at least recognizing that it is healthy and beneficial to get up.)
Besides verbally and mentally being self-compassionate, you may want to try journaling or writing yourself a letter. First, write down your negative feelings or thoughts. Then pretend that those are the feelings or thoughts of a best friend or loved one. When you’ve done this, write down your encouragement and support. Here are two examples:
I became angry at my son today and yelled at him. I know you didn’t want to yell at him. You’ve been working on that. And it’s been a week since you last yelled. That’s awesome. A lot of people have trouble controlling their temper. That’s not an excuse, but hopefully you realize that you’re not the only person trying to be better.
I’m not where I should be in life. My friends earn more money than I do and my debt’s getting bigger and bigger. It’s tough to be in debt. It is. And some of your classmates do earn more than you. But you earn more than some people. It really doesn’t matter how much you earn compared to other people. You know you need to learn to live within your means. Perhaps you can take a community education class on budgeting or personal finance.
In summary, whether you do it in your mind, speak it out loud, or write it down, pretend that you are talking or writing to your best friend and offer yourself compassion. Objectively empathize with how you are feeling, remind yourself that others go through hard times too, and help yourself see the positive aspects of the situation. Look for your own strengths and successes. Focus on offering yourself support.
If you want help overcoming your pornography addiction or sexual addiction, call Paradise Creek: (855) 442-1912.
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 areright 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.
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.
Are You Using These Free Therapies For Sex Addiction Treatment?
Free Therapies: Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
Sex addiction is a complex issue. Effective treatment can require a variety of techniques and therapies. Practicing self-compassion and mindfulness are two therapies that can help you in your recovery. They are free, and you can start practicing them right away.
Focus on Breathing:
In mindful breathing, you simply become aware of your breathing. You don’t try to slow it down or speed it up. You don’t try to breathe deeper or more shallowly. You simply focus on breathing.
Kelly McGonigal, PhD suggests three ways to practice mindful breathing. First, is to repetitively think “inhale” or “exhale” as you breathe in and out. Second, is be aware of the sensations breathing creates, such as the movement of your belly or the feel of the air in your nostrils. Third is to count each exhalation until you reach the number ten, then start over. With all three suggestions, when your thoughts drift to something other than your breath, that’s okay, just refocus on your breathing1.
Rather than dreaming about the past or longing (or worrying) about the future, savor the present moment. Whether you are eating a meal, spending time with a friend, walking, working, exercising, playing, talking or typing, become aware of what you are doing and delight in it. Notice the sensations you are experiencing. 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?
Savor the sunset right now--the vivid pink and orange and purple colors changing shade and brightness as the clouds move and the sun sinks deeper behind the mountains. Savor being with someone you love. Savor the food you are eating. Savor the feel of the breeze, or the heat or the cold. Savor the feel of your feet hitting hard ground as you walk, or the supporting cushion of your shoes.
You can do guided or self-guided meditation, and the meditation can take different forms. Focusing on different sensations: the earth, your feet, what you hear, your skin. It can include imagination, such as imagining a healing energy flowing through you. You can use music or not. Kelly McGonigal, even shares the idea of walking while you meditate.2
Pause and Observe:
Simply stop and notice. What are your surroundings? How are you standing or sitting? What do you smell or hear? How are you reacting to your thoughts and feelings? Do not pass judgment, just observe and become aware. This “Pause and Observe” exercise can help ground you in the present so that you are not worrying about the future nor feeling shame for the past.
Become Your Best Friend:
If your best friend made some mistakes, wouldn’t you give him the benefit of the doubt, encourage him, support him, and focus on his good qualities? Treat yourself the same way. Find the good in your situation and in yourself. Focus on the positive. This is not to say that you should ignore what needs to be changed, but rather that you love yourself and accept yourself as you are, even as you strive to change.
To learn more about overcoming sex addiction using mindfulness and compassion, please contact Paradise Creek Recovery Center at (855) 442-1912.
Often sexual addiction is automatically associated with being a man’s problem however despite popular belief women do struggle with sexual addiction. Struggling with sexual addiction is very shaming for a person and can leave them feeling disconnected and alone. Because so few women come forward about their sexual addiction and assume it is a man’s disease the shame can be even more intense. The diagnosis criterion for sexual addiction is the same for women as it is for men.
There are several myths surrounding women and sexual addiction that perpetuate the minimization of this problem for women and increase shame.
Sexual addiction or dependency is a compulsive disorder that causes the inability to control ones sexual behavior that affects millions of people world-wide. A person with sexual addiction has excessive thoughts or behaviors relating to or obtaining a desired sexual effect. Those that suffer from this obsessive dependency suffer at work, with personal relationships, and other daily activities.
Some of the criterion associated with sexual addiction includes compulsive behavior resulting in adverse consequences. At first, these activities can be pleasurable. But the continued act becomes steadily compulsive until one becomes addicted. Some of these compulsive behaviors include pornography, multiple anonymous partners, repeated affairs, cyber-sex, prostitution, exhibitionism, and voyeurism to name a few.
The inability to control such sexual behaviors leads to depression, anxiety, and other emotional actions. Emotional coping is one way addicts use their addiction to experience a different way of stimulating the brain. Over time, the person becomes addicted pornography or other sexual stimulation to obtain feelings of gratification. But with that, other related issues like abandonment, fear, shame, or guilt are also linked to sexual addiction. Addicts can’t voluntarily disengage from sexual behavior, ending in consequences that disrupt the normal function of a person.
It’s important to recognize the complications that sexual addiction can impart on a person despite the negative consequences. Just like other addictions, these types of sexual behaviors seem to continue despite the effort to stop. Acting out sexually is usually a way to medicate or manage stress, pain, or even substitute for true intimacy. Some signs of sexual addiction include:
Cybersex or phone sex
Unsafe sexual activity
Preoccupation with having sex
These types of compulsive behaviors derive from mismanaged emotions which can later end in sexual compulsivity. Most often people don’t realize that there is treatment to manage their addiction, continuing to struggle no matter what the cost.
Sexual Addiction and Women
Is there really a difference between a man and a woman who suffers from sexual addiction? Interestingly enough, the answer is yes. Actually, there is a whole collection of misunderstandings and myths that surround women and having an addiction to sex. Since there has not been one set standard to measure addiction between men and women, sexual addiction in women has not been truly acknowledged in society until the past two decades or so. But sexual addiction is a real issue for women for sure, and not just a male phenomenon any more.
When it comes to sexual addiction, it’s really about the mechanics of emotions rather than what people identify it as being sexually intimate. Addictions of any kind prominently stem from an immediate need to satisfy emotional imbalances, and searching for that type of satisfaction with sexual compulsions often leads to an addiction that continues to meet the woman’s emotional disorder.
Women share the same symptoms as men when it comes to becoming addicted to sexual behaviors, usually starting with pornography and infidelity until it grows to the point there is no way to satiate their needs to feel complete. There are several things that can be instantly identified as to why a woman turns to an addiction to sex:
Most commonly is the impact of childhood verbal or sexual abuse that instigates an emotional need for sex in later years. Childhood sexual abuse not only scars a woman’s healthy balance for nurturing and caring, it also leads to fear and mistrust as their inborn nature to cultivate their unconditional love as a nurturer is offended by others’ unhealthy sexual behaviors.
Females search for a feeling of completion, and sex gives them the dopamine rush that satisfies them for the few minutes it takes to engage in sex. But if there are emotional imbalances among the reason a woman seeks out sex to feel a bond, the sensation is soon depleted, and they will seek out more ways of receiving the same gratifying feeling through unhealthy sexual promiscuity.
Many women agree that it’s not about the sex. It’s about the desperate need for acceptance, love, and affection. The feeling of loneliness or powerlessness is also a landmark for women who become addicted to unhealthy sexual behaviors. Often times it is the abandonment a women feels that fuels her addiction for the need to be wanted through sexual impulses.
Where this is only a few of the issues regarding women and sexual addiction, it is safe to say that the components of any addiction have negative consequences. Many times women do not identify themselves as having an addiction to sex or having unhealthy sexual behaviors as they believe it is merely an addiction to love, being co-dependent, or a relationship addiction. Without the knowledge to identify this addiction properly, this leads to events that quickly spiral out of control.
Without a proper understanding of sexual addictions, overcoming them is an unreachable goal. Recovering from a sexual addiction takes knowledge, understanding, and counseling. Getting the proper help is vital for recovery.
Am I Addicted?
(Post share from the IRATAD Blog)
At some point a person will come up against the question of “Am I out of control or could I control my behavior if I really desired to?” Many have come across this question and paused because there is no clear answer. It may be that they have been able to compartmentalize problem behaviors, telling themselves specific behavior does not affect the rest of their life or those around them- therefore they are in control. It may be that one is deeply shamed by what they have done and even admitting their behavior is unthinkable. Countless reasons exist for why it is be hard to define if a person is addicted or convince themselves they behave in ways of their own choosing.
The causes of sexual addictions are complex. Many questions arise as to why some people have an inability to control their addictions while others are unaffected. Research provides unlimited sources of understanding as to what causes an addiction and how it can be facilitated.
To further shed some light on the subject, it might be best to look at the definition of what an addiction is. An addiction is a condition of any kind that takes total control over what a person is doing, thinking, or feeling. There are multiple addictions out there such as drugs, alcohol, shopping, gambling, and even an addiction to sexual behaviors. When the body responds to a pleasurable affect that becomes compulsive and incontrollable, interfering with one’s duties and responsibilities of everyday life, then one is known as having an addiction.
Sexual addiction can be termed as a progressive intimacy disorder that is categorized by compulsive sexual thoughts and behaviors. Once a person becomes an addict, there are negative implications that increase as the addiction progresses‒ such as infidelity or financial ruin. Over time, the addict must find gratification by intensifying their behavior just to achieve the same results.
Another way to define sexual addiction is when someone engages in persistent patterns of sexual behavior until they escalate out of control. Despite the negative consequences, those that have sexual addictions continue to engage in these types of behaviors that risk their health, create financial problems, and destroy relationships with family, friends, and employers. When sexual addiction becomes a problem, it is often due to a person’s inability to have a healthy response to stress, trauma, or anxiety that is caused from everyday life. More specifically, the addict is unable or unaware of the best way to correctly deal with the emotional mechanism which leads them to search out other ways to deal with their underlying emotions.
There are so many things that can cause addictions in today’s world. Compulsive behaviors arise from emotional links in the brain caused from overstimulation. When this type of behavior receives a feeling of pleasure, reward, or relief, it quickly becomes the primary relationship for the addict. Sexual addiction if often a way to cope with loneliness, anxiety, pain, depression or other painful emotions and stressors.
This becomes a real problem as addiction encompasses more than just a compulsive behavior to an emotional problem. It can also be associated with the inability to deal with feelings, exposure to traumatic events, distortions in a person’s ability to connect with self, or other dysfunctional belief patterns that trigger these specific emotions. This ultimately leads to an unhealthy way of living as the brain tries to reward the person for their addictive actions, thinking it is the only way to feel better. As a person continually encounters pornography or other sexual behaviors, it may also be a way to divert negative emotions that they have formed with other people. Some addictions, especially sexual addictions, are difficult to talk about particularly when a person is already struggling to manage what they don’t truly understand.
Just like all addictions, they will manifest themselves in different forms. Sometimes there may only be a few recognizable symptoms. Other times the signs are there, but seeking help is not always the easiest thing to do. Sexual addiction is a real problem that affects people of all types, ages, and social classes.