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RECO Intensive
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Delray Beach, FL 33483

Sex and Porn Addiction Treatment

  1. For a normal person, sexual activity and desire is something that brings them pleasure. But for someone who has a sex or porn addiction, sexuality cannot be confined to an appropriate place in an individual’s life. A small minority of people find sex or pornography addictive.

    Despite repeated attempts to stop their compulsive sexual behavior or compulsive porn use, these addicts are typically unable to achieve control over their sexual urges without professional help.

    Like drug or alcohol addiction and other behavioral addictions, sex and porn addiction can negatively affect a person’s physical and mental health, intimate relationships, quality of life, and safety, and it has many of the same symptoms psychologically and physically. Similarly to substance abuse, compulsive sexual actions can cause the dopamine in your brain to increase, creating a physical and chemical high due to the release of the neurotransmitter.

    They may feel that they need increasing amounts of the chemical dopamine to feel that high, meaning that tolerance and psychological withdrawal symptoms may even occur. Though internet porn addiction could be considered a subset of internet addiction, others recognize the compulsion to view pornography as a distinct type of addictive behavior.

    Sex or porn addiction is not an official diagnosis recognized by the medical community, or at least not by the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-III-R, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association and considered definitive.

    However, sexual addiction was listed in an earlier version of the DSM-III-R. In that edition, it was defined as “distress about a pattern of repeated sexual conquests or other forms of nonparaphilic sexual addiction, involving a succession of people who exist only as things to be used.”

    Mental health professionals considered adding sex or porn addiction to the latest round of the DSM-5 as well, but ultimately decided that they were not ready to identify hypersexuality as an addiction.

    But the fact that they are not officially recognized in the DSM V as a medical condition doesn’t mean these behavioral addictions aren’t real and don’t have profound impacts on people’s lives.

    Other literature like the ICD-11, or International Classification of Diseases, does recognize compulsive sexual behavior, as defined below.

    • Persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges resulting in repetitive sexual behavior
    • The pattern of failure to control intense, sexual impulses or urges and resulting repetitive sexual behavior is manifested over an extended period of time (6 months or more)
    • Causes marked distress or significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning
    • Distress that is entirely related to moral judgments and disapproval about sexual impulses, urges, or behaviors is not sufficient to meet this requirement

    Sex and porn addiction may fall into the category of hypersexual disorder, an umbrella term that includes problematic behaviors, such as excessive masturbation, pornography use, sexual behavior with consenting adults, strip club visitation, and other compulsive sexual behavior.

    If addiction to sex or pornography is interfering with your life and causing relationship issues, RECO Intensive can help. If you are suffering from a severe sexual addiction, our sex and porn addiction treatment program may be one of the only ways you can get help and learn the coping skills you need to be able to return to normal everyday life.

    Our wellness professionals and addiction specialists in Delray Beach, FL have the training and tools to treat porn addiction and sex addiction as well as other addictions based on the latest evidence-based therapies, providing an invaluable service to those who seek treatment with us.

    Symptoms of Internet Pornography Addiction

    There’s no consensus on exactly what constitutes sexual addiction, but the following symptoms may indicate a problem:

    • Obsessive sexual thoughts and fantasies that interfere with daily life, work performance, relationships, etc.
    • Compulsive relationships with multiple partners, including strangers
    • Risky behavior that puts yourself or others in danger
    • Feeling guilt or remorse after sex
    • Inability to control sexual behavior
    • Continuing sexual behaviors despite negative consequences or deriving little or no satisfaction from sexual encounters

    Symptoms of Porn Addiction

    While there’s no standard definition of porn addiction, if porn use interferes with your daily life and relationships, it’s a problem. Symptoms of online porn addiction can include:

    • Ignoring responsibilities to view pornographic material
    • Using pornography to cope with sadness, anxiety, insomnia, or other mental health issues
    • Having relationship problems or feeling less satisfied in a relationship because of porn
    • Feeling ashamed after viewing pornography, but not being able to stop
    • Spending large sums of money on pornography
    • Viewing progressively more extreme forms of pornography to get the same release
    • Watching porn at work or in other risky places, such as in public spaces

    Sex or porn addicts who attempt to stop engaging in their excessive sexual behavior may also experience withdrawal symptoms like irritability, depression, insomnia, rage, mood swings, inability to focus, loneliness, restlessness, and distress.

    The Effects of Porn Addiction

    Substance abusers who view images of drugs or alcohol show certain brain activity patterns on MRI scans. Peer-reviewed studies have found that sex and porn addicts show similar brain activity patterns when viewing porn.

    Excessive use of pornography, especially by men, can also cause sexual dysfunction in romantic relationships. One medically reviewed study found that female partners who perceived their boyfriends’ porn use to be excessive reported experiencing lower self-esteem, lower sexual satisfaction, and poorer relationship quality. Women compare themselves to the women their partner gets sexual gratification from during porn viewing and it has a negative impact on their opinion of their own beauty.

    The researchers behind another study found that men who use porn excessively also tend to report lower levels of sexual intimacy in their real-life relationships. This may be because participants who use porn excessively suffer from low self-esteem as well and are not able to engage with their partners with any real emotional intimacy.

    One systematic review also suggested that watching porn or viewing sexual images may function similarly to drug abuse in that it gives an intense high not found in actual sexual activity, which can change brain chemistry so that these other activities may become less pleasurable.

    The Effects Of Sex Addiction

    Though sex addiction has many of the same symptoms and harmful consequences of substance abuse, it also has uniquely dangerous aspects. For instance, women who engage in compulsive sexual behaviors risk becoming pregnant. And both men and women risk contracting sexually transmitted diseases due to their sex addiction, or causing emotional pain to their whole family if their search for sexual gratification leads them to engage in infidelity.

    Sex addiction could also have negative effects financially. Men or women who suffer from sex addiction may spend excessive amounts of money on pornography, prostitution, or chatting with women on the internet on cybersex sites. They may feel shame or self-loathing due to their struggles, which can cause or worsen depression or other types of mental health issues or emotional distress.

    Treatment for Sex/Porn Addiction

    Excessive porn use or sexual behavior that significantly disrupts your life is a serious mental health disorder, regardless of whether it is officially considered an addiction in the traditional medical sense of the word. RECO Intensive treats sex and porn addiction in much the same way as we treat substance addictions. Effective treatment strategies for treating porn addiction may include:

    • Psychotherapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a porn addiction therapy that can be particularly useful for helping people identify and respond appropriately to triggers. Individual therapy and group counseling sessions are a core part of our treatment programs at RECO Intensive. A treatment provider will help you to manage your sexual urges by teaching you healthier coping skills, and discuss what painful feelings you may have been trying to avoid so you can move past them and towards a healthier sex life.
    • Relationship counseling: Couples counseling can help partners explore their values and work through issues that may be hindering greater trust and intimacy in the relationship. Family counseling may also be recommended, as family therapy can help family members to come to terms with their loved one’s addiction and the family to develop a healthier dynamic.
    • Medications: Some people use porn or sex to cope with a co-occurring mental health condition, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or personality disorders. Trauma in one’s early development can also cause mental disorders like sexual addiction later in one’s life. RECO Intensive offers dual diagnosis treatment for people struggling with co-occurring disorders as well as with sexual addiction.

    Some people who are suffering from a behavioral addiction are also suffering from a substance use disorder at the same time. Since Reco Intensive is a treatment provider that offers help with substance addiction of all kinds as well as with compulsive sexual behaviors, our sex and porn addiction treatment options would be appropriate for behavioral disorder patients who are alcoholics or who abuse substances as well.

    Medication used to treat depression, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, is sometimes recommended by medical providers for people who are in addiction recovery. This therapy may help someone who struggles with sex addiction by reducing cravings and creating a more stable day-to-day mood.

    • Lifestyle changes: People may use pornography to quell stress, escape negative feelings, or even out of boredom. Learning healthier lifestyle habits is a core part of recovery from sexual addiction. Like people addicted to different types of drugs, people who suffer from sex addiction need to follow the guidance of mental health professionals and find engaging in non-sexual social activities and other distractions from their cravings for unhealthy sexual activity. Mindfulness-focused therapy can also help people with sex addiction develop strategies to control sexual urges, as can acceptance and commitment therapy.
    • People who suffer from sexual addiction may find a support group like Sex Addicts Anonymous or group therapy helpful. An environment like the one that support groups offer can help people with sex or porn addiction find a sense of community and emotional support they can use to work through their problems.

    If you or someone you love is struggling with sex or porn addiction, RECO Intensive can help them take control of their behaviors. Many clients choose our intensive outpatient programs, which provide the freedom to continue working or going to school.

    The professional help we offer in our sex and porn addiction treatment program will help you address whatever emotional pain led to your addiction. Our medical director will help design an individualized treatment program to offer you treatment catered to your specific issues, background, and life history, and our healthcare professionals will provide treatment that will help you achieve long-term recovery. Our treatment program also includes support groups, which offer you the chance to connect with others struggling with the same issues you are.

    Contact us today for more information about our sex and porn addiction treatment programs and to schedule a tour of our addiction treatment center in Delray Beach, FL. Anything you share with us about your pornography addiction or the porn addiction of a loved one will be completely confidential. Treatment and a better future is just a phone call away.

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