Similarities Between Sex Addiction and Drug Addiction

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Effects on the Brain

Drug addiction and sex addiction have similar effects on the brain—both primarily influence the brain’s reward system through a neurotransmitter called dopamine. When a person satisfies a need or desire that is vital to survival or reproduction, dopamine is released, causing the person to experience pleasure or euphoria. This reinforces the expectation of reward and increases the desire to engage in the underlying behavior.

  • The use of a drug stimulates the release of dopamine and mimics those behaviors necessary for survival, causing a person to become increasingly reliant on drugs for the release of dopamine.
  • Sex addiction works in a similar manner; each time a sex addict partakes in sexual behaviors, he or she experiences a rush of endorphins, creating a powerful incentive to engage in the behavior again.
  • This perpetuates a vicious cycle and the person finds that he or she is driven and controlled by the desire for reward.

This is what makes it so difficult for addicts to quit and why professional help should be sought.

Dependence

Many sex addicts believe that they are in control of their behaviors, but without proper treatment, they can develop dependence. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of dependence, so that you can seek help immediately. A few signs include:

  • Loss of control around sexual activity.
  • Development of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Preoccupation with desire for sexual behavior.
  • Avoiding responsibilities and/or enjoyable activities in favor of sexual behavior.

Perhaps the most important sign that one is dependent on sex is that the person continues to seek sexual behaviors despite negative consequences caused by the behavior, such as:

  • Failing marriage.
  • Missing work.
  • Ruining friendships.
  • Health problems.
  • Financial problems.

Withdrawal

Withdrawal is a characteristic feature of chemical addictions and reports indicate that individuals struggling with sexual addictions frequently report experiencing withdrawal after a reduction in sexual activity. Withdrawal symptoms can include but are not limited to:

  • Nausea
  • Shakes
  • Irritability
  • Craving
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety

Suzanne would like to help her clients find happiness in life.  Are you depressed or anxious wondering how you can get through the next day? Do you feel over-worked and under-appreciated?  Do you have a difficult maintaining your weight, managing your finances, coping with your own addiction or the addiction of someone else, or maybe you are having a hard time getting along with your spouse or a difficult teenager?  There is relief….The first step, which is the most difficult, is making the call to seek help and direction for a better life.

Suzanne Specializes In: Relationship Problems, Recovery & Strengthening, Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Management, Sexual Addiction/Love Addiction & Co-Dependency (women & men), Addictions (drugs, alcohol, shopping, etc),Trauma ,Personal/Sports/and Corporate Coaching. Clinical Training: CSAT : Suzanne is trained in sexual addictions from the prestigious IITAP institute and Patrick Carnes, EMDR (eye movement and desensitization and reprocessing):

Suzanne offers this processing technique for relief from traumas, anxiety, depression, addictions, fears, phobias, and test anxiety.  EMDR can also enhance sports and speaking/professional performances, Prepare/Enrich: Suzanne can help you learn how to build stronger relationships through communication and conflict resolution skill building.  This program is ideal for premarital counseling, marriage preparation, marriage counseling, and marriage enrichment, Suzanne earned her MS in Counseling Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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