Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


5 Diagnoses that Can Contribute to Sex Addiction

by John Gary

The psychological community believes that sexual addiction is the result of a number of different disorders that exist on a neurological level. Like many addictions, it is not an affliction that just mysteriously appears in a person’s life. There are causes. Diagnosing these causes and treating them accordingly is the most important part in helping any individual overcome their addiction. The five most-common diagnoses are:

Bipolar Disordersex-addiction

The leading recognized mental disorder that can lead to sexual addiction is bipolar disorder. Patients with this are unable to control their actions during upswings (manic state). Typically, this results in a need to feel like they are living life on the edge – to take risks. Sexual adventures are often one way which this manifests in patients. Treatment of bipolar disorder involves prescription medication designed to resolve the balance of chemicals in the brain, alongside regular therapy sessions.

Childhood Trauma

Trauma that occurs during the first decade of life can have a dramatic impact later on. Many children suppress the things that happen to them until the memory or feelings from that time are triggered later in life. When this trigger happens, the individual is likely to find an outlet any way possible. This is often through sexual acts that are inappropriate. Treatment for this is typically completed through extensive counseling with a certified sex addiction therapist to help the individual face their trauma and move forward, positively.

Brain Tumor

Sudden behavioral changes like those that accompany sex addiction can also be the cause of a brain tumor. One of the many side effects of this involves lack of inhibition. As the tumor grows and presses on certain parts of the brain, the patient may lose all remorse for their actions and all sense of right and wrong. Depending on the stage of the tumor, treatment may include chemotherapy, surgery, and/or medication.

Multiple Personality Disorder

Psychologists recognize a variety of personality disorders today. An individual who truly struggles with identity association may find it difficult to adequately channel their desires. In many cases, one personality may be aggressive and take sexual risks without concern for the individual’s well-being, while another personality will be more reserved. As the brain struggles to make the right balance between the two, sexual addiction can occur. Treatment for this diagnosis is more difficult. It involves intensive therapy to determine the trauma that caused the personality disorder as well as medication and potential lifestyle changes. It is possible that individuals who suffer from sexual addiction because of a personality disorder will never fully overcome their addiction.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Sexual addiction can manifest after a trauma that causes PTSD as a way for the individual to feel “free” of the pain and terror they are feeling. It serves as an outlet for them to release their feelings and aggressions. This cause for sexual addiction is highly prevalent today and also highly treatable. Patients who have undergone an intense trauma will undergo long periods of counseling to help them identify their fears and feelings associated with the trauma, understand why/how it happened, and overcome their own regret of the trauma. The process may require medication in the beginning, but success is largely based on the benefits of talk therapy.

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