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Sex Addiction Description And Treatments Essay

1190 words - 5 pages

Sex Addiction Description and TreatmentsThe effects of sex addiction are readily dismissed because they are not "chemical" when in actuality; naturally occurring drugs are involved in the form of chemicals or peptides such as endorphins. These peptides are analogous in molecular structure of opiates like morphine yet they are many times more powerful. This paper will define sex addiction, provide examples of sex addiction, and describe the levels of severity of sex addiction disorders, treatment approaches, and treatment outcome expectations.Robert Weis, LCSW, defines sex addiction as: "A man or woman who engages in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behaviors acted out despite ...view middle of the document...

Unlike substance abuse treatment, abstinence from all sexual activity is not the lifelong goal of sex addiction treatment it is the sustained eradication of compulsive, unhealthy sexual behaviors. During the first phase of treatment, programs encourage abstinence from any sexual behavior in order to help clients differentiate between healthy and unhealthy sex. Many programs suggest a 60-90 day period of self-imposed abstinence. During this time the client, along with the treatment team, also work together to identify the emotional cues and conditions that elicit sexual thoughts and compulsive sexual behaviors (Batz, 1998).Treatment will commonly focus on two main issues. The first is the potential need to separate sex addicts from harmful sexual behavior in the same way drug addicts need to be separated from drugs. Several weeks of inpatient or residential treatment may be required to accomplish this. Inpatient settings shelter clients from specific situations or people and the profusion of sexual images that could trigger compulsive sexual behavior. Relapse in a structured, tightly controlled setting is less likely to occur (Batz, 1998). Treatment in an outpatient setting can be affective with adequate social, family and spiritual support, depending on the severity and type of sex addiction being treated.Secondly and most problematical is helping the client confront the guilt, shame and depression associated with this illness. Establishing trust with a therapist to work through these emotions takes client commitment, courage, and time. Inpatient residential settings where professionals can monitor and properly manage depression which may manifest are often recommended (Batz, 1998).Multiple treatment approaches are used in the same way for the treatment of sex addiction as with many other addictions. Several are commonly used in the treatment of addictions. Cognitive-Behavior Therapy approach examines the triggers and what reinforces actions related to sexual addiction as well as looking for methods of short-circuiting that process and substituting sexual behavior with another behavior, e.g., exercising or working out; subsequently preventing a relapse into addictive behavior.Interpersonal Therapy is used to address individuals addicted to sex with significant emotional baggage from their early lives. This form of traditional "talk therapy" is often helpful in...

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