Sex and Love Addiction: Symptoms and Treatment

If you believe that your sexual activity is out of control and is having a negative impact on your everyday life, it could be that you have a sex addiction. At Banbury Lodge, we are helping many people to overcome their dependency on sex and love. We understand that this is a serious issue that may be causing harm to your life and the lives of those you love. We want you to know that you can count on us to help you overcome these problems.

What Is Sex and Love Addiction?

The idea that sex or love can become addictive has been ridiculed for many years, but the reality is that sex and love addiction is a very real problem for many individuals. When you consider that addiction is classed as any pattern of behaviour that causes harm and destruction to an individual, it is easy to see how sex, and indeed love, can become addictive.

While both sex and love addictions are real, there are some subtle differences between the two; these differences lay in the compulsive behaviours displayed by the person with the problem. However, there is no difference in the impact that each can have on daily life.

Sex Addiction

Sexual activities cause the release of powerful chemicals by the brain, which is similar to those released when chemical mood-altering substances are abused. If a sexual activity feels out of control and is interfering with everyday life, it can be classed as an addiction. Nevertheless, sex addiction can take many forms, including:

  • sex with multiple partners
  • excessive pornography
  • excessive use of prostitutes
  • excessive use of cyber-sex or phone sex lines
  • excessive masturbation.

Love Addiction

While it is possible to become addicted to sexual activities, it is also possible to develop an addiction to the idea of being in love. Love addicts experience a thrill when involved in romantic relationships and may become obsessed with fantasies of being in love.

Do I Have a Sex or Love Addiction?

If you are engaging in any sexual activity that you believe you do not have full control over, or if your feelings within a relationship seem excessive, it could be that you have an addiction. Sex and love addictions are classed as process addictions – or compulsive behaviour disorders – and are serious problems that require help. These conditions can have a negative impact on life and your relationships with other people. To understand if you have a sex or love addiction, you need to know more about the characteristics of each. If you can relate to these, then it may be a good idea to speak to a professional:

  • Becoming sexually or emotionally attached to people without knowing them well
  • Staying in an emotionally or sexually abusive relationship because of the fear of being alone
  • Becoming preoccupied with sexual activity to the point where it interferes with everyday life
  • Falling in love very quickly
  • Constantly fantasising about being in love or having the perfect relationship
  • Engaging in sex with multiple partners
  • Engaging in high-risk sex activities
  • Neglecting important responsibilities at home or at work in favour of sexual activity
  • Valuing love above everything else
  • Being terrified at the thought of never finding love
  • Feeling suicidal when a relationship ends
  • Sacrificing your own needs or happiness to please a partner.

It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that a sex or love addiction may be a problem but to move on and learn how to develop healthy relationships and a healthy attitude to sex, it is important that you look to get some sort of counselling or treatment.

Denial is common among those who have a sex or love addiction. It is not unusual for affected individuals to minimise the impact that their sexual activity or romantic fantasies are having on them. This may be something that you do without even realising. You might also get defensive when others criticise your relationship patterns or how you act when in a relationship. It is often easier to do this than to face the truth.

Nevertheless, if you believe that your sexual behaviour is out of control or if you are hiding it from your loved ones, you could need help. Think about your sexual or emotional behaviour and whether it could be considered unhealthy.

If you are engaging in high-risk sexual activity and know that there may be consequences if you continue but you do so anyway, you may benefit from speaking to someone with experience of sex and love addiction. You should know that you are not alone; there are many people facing similar issues to yours. You should also know that help is available, so you do not have to continue living this way.

What Are the Consequences of Addiction?

It is common to assume that addiction only harms the person with the problem, but this is not the case. Yes, the impact on your life will be immense and will undoubtedly get worse without treatment, but addiction also has negative consequences for those you love.

A sex or love addiction can have a profound impact on mental health. If you become obsessed with sex or love, you could develop feelings of shame or guilt, which can then lead to issues such as depression or anxiety. Your relationships with others will almost certainly decline as you become less likely to engage in social and family activities.

Your obsession with sex or love could also have an impact on your productivity at work, which could result in reduced income and financial problems. Some people will begin self-medicating with mood-altering chemicals to help them cope with their feelings of shame or inadequacy; this will obviously lead to its own set of problems.

Sex addiction can also result in physical problems such as sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

What Causes a Sex or Love Addiction?

There are many causes of a sex and love addiction. It is not possible to pinpoint a single cause in every person, but it is often a combination of factors that initially led to the problem developing. For some people, it might have been exposed to sexual content at a young age. In others, it could be that they have a genetic disposition to addictive behaviours. Each person is different.

Social isolation and rejection can also play a role in a sex or love addiction developing. Some individuals who have been rejected in social circles or in relationships, for example, might become obsessed with the idea of being loved or will seek sexual gratification in other ways.

The experience of traumatic events can also lead to compulsive behaviour in some people. Emotional distress can result in being unable to develop healthy relationships or a healthy attitude to sex. It may be that the affected person was physical, sexually, or emotionally abused as a child or that he or she was the victim of bullies. Others might have been neglected by a parent and hence seek solace in relationships or sexual activity with others.

Where Can I Get Treatment for Sex or Love Addiction?

Nevertheless, treatment for a sex or love addiction is available from a plethora of organisations. You could access help through your GP, who will then refer you on to an NHS-run programme. There are also other free services available across the UK that are provided by charity organisations.

If you are interested in getting started as soon as possible though, then you might want to consider treatment at a private clinic where waiting times are virtually non-existent. Banbury Lodge is here for you if you are ready to get started with treatment immediately.

What Can I Expect from Rehab at Banbury Lodge?

In various treatment settings, you can choose to be treated in an outpatient or an inpatient facility. You can expect similar treatments to be used in each, but within an inpatient programme, you can overcome your addiction in the shortest amount of time as treatment is condensed over a period of around six to eight weeks, depending on the severity of the illness.

If you choose to be treated for a sex or love addiction with Banbury Lodge, you will avail of inpatient treatment and move into the clinic for the duration of your stay. On admission, you will be assessed by one of our fully trained counsellors; this assessment will involve an interview where you will be asked questions about your life. The purpose of the interview is to determine how severe your illness is and to establish a treatment programme that will work best for you.

Your treatment programme will include various treatments such as individual counselling, group therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. Family therapy will also be provided to help you and your loved ones come to terms with the impact of the addiction and to help you develop ways of overcoming it together. If there are any underlying issues within the family that may have led to the addiction, these will be addressed during these sessions.

Individual therapy sessions take place between yourself and one of our counsellors or therapists. During these sessions, you will be encouraged to be completely honest and open regarding your behaviours and thought processes. Any negative attitudes will be challenged, and you will have the opportunity to learn how to develop new, positive thought patterns and behaviours to ensure you avoid a return to your addictive behaviour going forward.

Group therapy forms a big part of treatment here at Banbury Lodge because it has proven time and again to be an effective tool when it comes to overcoming any type of addiction. Within a group setting, various discussions about sex and love addiction will take place.

You will take part in activities designed to help you identify negative behaviours that are common among those with your type of addiction. You will learn more about your illness and will hear about common triggers and causes. You will also have the opportunity to share your story and experiences with others and will learn from the mistakes of other group members.

Twelve-step therapy is also included as part of treatment for sex addiction; the 12-step programme developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous have been adapted for various other addictions. You will also be encouraged to get involved with your local fellowship support group when you leave our clinic. We will introduce you to the programme with 12-step therapy and will help you get started with this local resource when you leave.

What Happens After Treatment?

When your programme of treatment with Banbury Lodge is finished, you will return to everyday life. You will have been taught how to develop healthy attitudes to sex and relationships and it will be time to put what you have learned into practice.

You can continue to access support from us if you need it. We provide free aftercare for patients who complete their treatment with us for up to a period of 12-months after treatment has concluded. Should you need additional support in the form of counselling sessions or phone support, you can get in touch with us.

If you choose to get involved with your local fellowship support group, you will also have support from a group of recovering addicts who are also learning how to live an addiction-free life. Attending regular meetings will help you to stay on track and will give you the chance to engage with others who can relate to your own individual situation.

For more information about sex and love addiction or the treatments available, please contact us here at Banbury Lodge today. We can help you overcome your dependency. You can rest assured that anything we discuss will be treated with the utmost privacy and confidentiality. If you want information, answers to your questions, or just someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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Call Now 0203 553 0618

Call Now 0203 553 0618

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