Sex and Love Addiction
Are you concerned that a sex or love addiction is affecting you or a family member? If so you have come to the right place. Addiction Helper take sex and love addiction just as seriously as any other addiction. Sex and love addiction can be just as destructive to the individual suffer and their loved ones as an addiction to drugs , alcohol or another activity-based addiction such as gambling or internet addiction . Addiction to anything, can affect anyone, no matter what age, gender, race, religion, education or upbringing. Sex and love addiction are very common and growing addictions. Sadly, because of the shame and guilt associated with it, very few seek treatment, and therefore very few recover. There is little free support and help available for these particular addictions; mostly due to them being a subject that not many individuals suffering want to speak about and a lack of understanding within the general population. Those that suffer from a sex or love addiction fear being judged and mocked by those who do not understand their obsessive and compulsive behaviours.
Addiction Helper do understand; and most importantly – we do not judge. Most of our team and the staff that we work with are in recovery themselves, so we truly understand what it feels like to be an addict and how hard it is to overcome.
Addiction Helper have helped well over 10,000 individual access help, support and recovery from all manner of addictions. Whatever your addiction is, we can suggest a solution to help you or your loved one make a full and permanent recovery. If you are looking for private rehab , we specialise in this area and work with over 100 elite CQC-regulated treatment centres within the UK and a select number of outstanding addiction rehabs overseas.
If you or a loved one are suffering from a sex or love addiction, please call us now or chat to us LIVE online, to find out more about how we can help you specifically.
What Is Sex and Love Addiction?
Love and sex addiction are classed as process addictions. In simple terms this means that an individual becomes addicted to a person, activity, or behaviour. The correct treatment can be hard to find, especially on the NHS and is often nowhere near as intensive as it needs to be for the individual to make a full and lasting recover, especially if the addiction has had negative consequences to other areas of their life. Addiction Helper have provided you with this page so you can gain all the facts you need on sex and love addiction, the signs and symptoms, how it manifests, the common causes, why some individuals become addicted, and why some don’t and more importantly, how to access the correct treatment for a full and permanent recovery.
Addiction Helper understand that if you are a sex or love addict and want help, it can be very difficult to make that first call and admit you have a problem. We see this particular addiction as we do any other addiction and treat it, and the individual suffering from it, with respect and compassion. We understand that the addict is not at fault for having an addiction; they are compelled to seek a high in whatever shape or form the disease of addiction takes. Addiction is a mental health illnesses and recognised by Public England Health and The National Institute on Health and Drug Abuse as a “chronic relapsing brain disease”. This means, that without the correct professional treatment, there is little chance of the individual making a full recovery to be maintained on a permanent basis.
Understanding the Sex and Love Addict’s Brain
Science has proven that those who suffer from addiction produce lower levels of Dopamine (D2) (the body’s naturally occurring chemical that induces feelings of happiness and emotional balance). When the addict’s brain finds an activity, drug, or substance that stimulates the production of Dopamine, they latch onto it and crave more and more, as demonstrated below.
With Sex addiction the high comes from arranging, anticipation, and participating in sexual activity. In Love addiction the high is produced from feelings of being wanted, needed, desired, or loved. The more the individual indulges in the behaviour the more dopamine is produced, and the more they crave it – regardless to the cost to themselves or others. Binging is often related to drugs and alcohol, but the same response is activated in the brain of a sex or love addict.
As a progressive illness, the brain becomes tolerant to the initial dose of Dopamine that used to flood the brain when a particular substance or activity was used. This results in a Dopamine crash and less of a pleasure-response; they therefore develop stronger and stronger cravings for more and more and so the addiction escalates. It is important to understand that addiction is a recognised disease of the brain and is progressive in nature. Without the correct treatment, over time, it will only ever get worse. The longer the addiction goes on, and the more the substance or activity is abused, the brain develops new neurological pathways that are critical to keep the addiction going. When it has reached this point, the individual will have lost all control over their own thinking and subsequent actions; no matter how hard they try to resist, they have become hardwired to their particular addiction. This will come at a great cost to them and their loved ones, financially, mentally, emotionally, socially, physically, and spiritually.
The only way to treat addiction successfully is through the use of proven therapies that are designed to retrain and rewire the brain into thinking differently. It is essential for a substantial shift in the addict’s thinking to occur, in order for them to move forward and maintain recovery. Over time and practice of new and healthier disciplines and by continually using the tools of recovery, the brain’s neurotransmitters will eventually repair so that they are no longer hardwired to obsess over sex or love. If the individual fails to adopt a healthier way of living and utilising healthier coping mechanisms, the brain will revert back to its old ways and they are highly likely to relapse at this point. Basically, in active Sex addiction, this is what the individual brain will look like:
Sex to them is a drug, as is Love to a love addict. Their thoughts are consumed with the obsession of getting and having sex or finding love, they are then compelled to act out to relieve the painful and obsessive thinking and to gain a “high”. Their brains react in exactly the same way that a heroin addicts would react to heroin , a sugar addicts react to sugar , a compulsive gamblers react to gambling , or a cocaine addicts react to cocaine . The sex or love addict will go to great extremes to get their fix; including engaging in risky and dangerous behaviours and compromising their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. These two addictions have a high suicide rate if left untreated.
Sex addiction presents in many different forms, but basically it is a broad term used to describe any out-of-control sexual activity. Those affected, will often experience feelings of deep shame, guilt and self-loathing around their addiction. Fear of being mocked or judged often prevents the individual from seeking help. As with any addiction, a sex addict cannot get enough of their preferred sexual activity. They are addicted, and they will resort to more risky and extreme behaviours in order to try and satisfy their obsessive and compulsive needs as an addict.
In today’s society sex is still a very touchy subject; most choose to keep their sex lives private and do not discuss certain aspects that cause them to feel shame or guilt with anyone else. There is often a stigma attached to those who do not conform to what is considered a “normal” sex life. But what is a normal and healthy sex life? Who is to judge? But the difference between an addict and someone who is experimental of free thinking around sex is that the addict will be obsessed with sex to a painful level and often feel guilt, shame, and remorse around their behaviours. They are suffering from a mental obsession and compulsion that is beyond their own control; it is not simply a lifestyle choice. They will often cause damage to themselves and to others through the needs of their addiction.
Addiction is a very selfish and harmful illness to all involved. Being addicted to sex is very painful for the sufferer; due to the consequences and the feelings of low self-worth, low self-esteem, guilt, and shame associated with this particular addiction.
Let’s Talk about Sex
Sex addiction is a real addiction and attachment disorder and often carries very serious consequences to the individual and also their family and their loved ones. The various ways in which Sex addictions manifest include:
- Excessive use of porn
- Excessive masturbation
- Numerous sexual partners
- Hooking up with numerous different sexual partners who are strangers, just for the sake of having sex
- Having numerous affairs whilst committed to another person
- Using prostitutes
- Using more extreme forms of sex, pornography, or masturbation to the point of putting their own life at risk or breaking their own moral code repeatedly
- Excessive use of sex chat lines and sex webcams
- Illegal sex, such as unconsented or with a minor
While some of these activities, and we stress some (as obviously unconsented and illegal sex is never acceptable behaviour) are mostly harmless when done in moderation, safely and, whilst not in a committed monogamous relationship, those with a sex addiction will become obsessed to the point where their sexual activity affects their everyday life and impacts on all areas of their life. They are likely to disregard their own physical and mental wellbeing, their family and friends, their career, finances and intimate relationships with partners. This can have devastating effects, to the point where the individual feels that the only way out of the pain and misery is to take their own life.
In particular, spouses and partners in a monogamous relationship with a sex addict, will find this particular addiction extremely difficult to cope with. For them, it brings up strong feelings of jealousy, suspicion, resentment, not being good enough, betrayal, and mistrust. Whilst other addictions do of course impact on the family and loved ones gravely, sex addiction has more of a detrimental impact to a spouse or partner due to the nature of the addiction. Often, they may blame themselves for their partner’s addiction, believing that if they were enough then their partner would not seek sexual activity that does not include them. Sometimes they may be coerced into doing something that they feel uncomfortable doing sex wise, but do it as fear their partner will look elsewhere. More often than not, a partner of a sex addict will also need therapy and counselling to help them to heal too.
As a Sex addiction progresses, the likelihood of being found out becomes more significant as the sex addicts behaviours become more reckless, careless and risky. Naturally when a partner finds out they are devastated and deeply hurt. Choosing to stand by a sex addict, who is not willing to seek treatment, is only asking for more pain.
Characteristics of a Sex Addict:
The following examples are indicators that you or a loved one may have an addiction to sex:
- Engaging with multiple sexual partners
- Needing more sexual activity or more extreme forms of sexual activity to feel the same pleasure
- Engaging in risky and reckless sexual behaviour
- Trying to stop and wanting to stop but being unable to
- Neglecting personal, social, and financial responsibilities in favour of sexual activity
- Obsessively thinking about sex and craving sex
- Being unable to be intimate with a partner because it does not produce the desired level of pleasure that they crave, or it induces feelings of guilt if they are acting out, outside of the relationship
- Continuing to engage in sexual activity despite it causing problems at home or in other areas of the sufferer’s life.
- Engaging in sexual activity that is immoral, harmful or illegal
If you or a loved one’s sexual activity is out of control, we can help; call Addiction Helper now or chat to us LIVE online, so that we can talk you through getting the best treatment options available for Sex addiction. Sex addiction is treatable and a full recovery can be made with the correct help and support.
The Statistics on Sex Addiction in the UK
From the following infographic you will see that out of Sex addictions reported, this condition affects far more men than women; this could be due to hormones playing a part and that fact that most men, due to their genetics, can more easily detach sex from love, or perhaps because there is even less acceptance around a female sex addict and so they are too ashamed to admit they have a problem.
Sex addiction is a very real and very serious problem, but it can be overcome with the correct professional treatment. Abstaining from sexual activity will be torturous for an addict, even for a short while; it is unlikely they would last long, without intensive treatment. This is due to the overwhelming compulsion to seek relief and the “high” as a reward that the brain demands. Many sex addicts may think that abstaining from sexual activity is the answer. But stopping the compulsive behaviour is only the very tip in treating a sex addiction in the long run. The psychological aspect of the addiction must be treated in full, if a permanent recovery and healthy approach to sex is ever to be achieved and maintained. The infographic below, clearly depicts the gravity of this illness and how many individuals are affected by it in the UK.
Those that suffer from love addiction have an overwhelming need to feel loved, often to their own detriment and to the detriment of those that love and care for them. Internally, they lack love for themselves and without that external affirmation and love, they feel worthless, desperate, empty, lonely, and without any purpose in their lives. Those addicted, will go to extraordinary lengths to search out love, or please their partners; even if it means compromising their own needs, safety and wellbeing. Love addiction is a very serious illness and often carries traits of Co-dependency . They become addicted to falling in love and receiving love from others. Love lights up their brains dopamine receptors and floods the brain with feel good chemicals, the same as with any other addiction when exposed to the substance or activity of the brain’s preference. Like other addictions, Love addiction can also carry very serious consequences to the individual sufferer and to their family and loved ones. Those that are affected, often become obsessed with the idea of falling in and being in love; they may have numerous relationships or stay in destructive relationships as they have great difficulty being on their own. Over time, Love addiction causes serious damage to the individual; they are unable to find a balance or maintain a healthy relationship for any reasonable period of time. This also impacts on their family and friends, who are often left to pick up the pieces after yet another failed relationship. Children that are subjected to numerous new relationships or abusive and dysfunctional relationships, suffer greatly and can later take on the same traits, as a normal and acceptable way to conduct their relationships.
Love addiction is an attachment disorder in which the sufferer becomes dependent on the attentions of a romantic partner and feeling love. Much like any other addiction, the crux of the problem centres on the individual’s brain and their mind. Those affected often suffer from cripplingly low self-esteem and believe that they are worthless if they are not in a relationship. They may well tolerate destructive, abusive or harmful behaviour from a partner, as they believe that is all they deserve, and to them it is preferable to being alone. Many that suffer from love addiction, do not even realise it is a recognised illness; they may feel that they are just unlucky in love. But as with any addiction, they are subconsciously manifesting their own self destruction and are compelled by an obsession of the mind, which is beyond their own control. The good news is that Love addiction is preventable and very treatable with the correct professional help. Addiction Helper are here to assist you in finding the correct treatment that will enable you or a loved one to make a full and permanent recovery from Love Addiction
Are Love and Sex Addiction the Same Thing?
Love and Sex addiction are two very different types of addiction/attachment disorder and the symptoms outwardly manifest differently. A Sex addict will typically avoid love and intimacy, whereas a Love addict will be compelled to seek and receive it. Love addiction, like sex addiction, can come in many forms, and an individual can carry traits of both disorders. Love addiction in its various manifestations, is explained in the infographic below:
Addiction Helper understand that Love addiction can have profound, lasting negative effects on others, and devastating consequences to the individual addicted to Love. We offer a highly intensive and structured rehabilitation programme for love addiction, that treats the root causes of the addiction within the individual, that frees them to form healthy relationships; firstly with themselves and then with others in the future. It is imperative that the root causes are identified and processed, as often they will have manifested in childhood years, when the individual was too young to comprehend or understand what is healthy and what is not. The patterns of behaviour must be challenged and unlearned, with the help of experienced professionals. From there they will be able to recognise that the common denominator in their painful relationships is them, and that in order for their personal relationships to change, they must change the way that they think, subsequently feel about themselves and compulsively act out in their relationships. Entering into a world of healthy relationships is no easy task for an individual who has been thinking and acting a certain way for many years; it takes time. Time for the individual to first work on themselves, their boundaries and the way that they feel about themselves, before they can then carry themselves into a healthy relationship and not self-destruct if things do not go as they would have hoped.
The Characteristics of Love Addiction
As previously explained, Love addiction has very different and distinctive symptoms from an individual who is addicted to sex. If you recognise any of the following signs and symptoms in you or a loved one, it would strongly indicate that treatment is required for a Love addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of a Love Addict:
- The individual craves the initial rush of love, but over time will become anxious and restless in their relationship
- The individual seeks someone else who can solve their problems, care for them, or rescue them
- They lack the ability to form true intimacy with a partner and with others
- They suffer from low self-esteem and self-worth and feel completely alone and desperate when not in a relationship
- The only way they can “heal” from a relationship that had ended is to find another relationship straight away
- They are obsessed with their fantasy of what a relationship should be like; expecting perfection from themselves and their partners and are obsessed with finding ”the one”
- They will typically take big risks and make big commitments and sacrifices with a new partner before really getting to know them
- They expect unconditional and positive affirmation and love at all times
- They become utterly obsessed with new partners, disregarding friends and family
- Will often compromise themselves to seek validation from a new partner
- Will not be able to recognise what is healthy and what is not in terms of their interpersonal relationships with others
- They often have non-existent boundaries, that if in place, would keep themselves and others they care for safe
- They are typically attracted to individuals that have their own emotional problems or are emotionally unavailable, being convinced that they can fix them
- They never feel satisfied within a relationship, craving more love and more attention when the initial honeymoon period is over
- They will stay in destructive and abusive relationships, ignoring internal alarm bells, far longer that they should, as fear being alone is too much to bear.
- They often show traits of Co-dependency within their relationships
- They have an intense fear of abandonment or rejection
- They allow their partners opinions of them to form their self-worth
- They feel jealous, suspicious and unloved even when a partner has done nothing wrong and does everything to try and reassure them.
“I couldn’t understand why my relationships always failed; I would always get to a point where I would no longer be interested in them as a person and just focus on my partner’s faults. It would be so painful, I would end up ending it after a long drawn out period of trying to change them to suit me. Either that, or find a replacement before jumping ship. Then came the void, the darkness, depression, loneliness and despair. I repeatedly sought out new relationships, each time convinced, “they are the one” the results were always the same…damage, destruction, drama and pain. Understanding I had a love addiction and undergoing treatment in a rehab, taught me why I was like this and what I suffered from. They helped me to heal from within. I choose to be single today, not through avoidance, but because I realise I have got a lot of loving to make up for, to myself and to my children. My life is so different now, I can’t even begin to explain; no more drama and I have peace and contentment within. My self-esteem and confidence has grown and I have taken holidays alone and with my children for the first time ever; I’ve achieved goals alone and do loving things for myself because I enjoy them. Learning to love myself has been the biggest and most rewarding gift of all. I am so grateful for all I have today and don’t need anything or anyone to enhance that” Anna
Causes of a Sex or Love Addiction
As with all addictions, sex and love addictions can affect anyone. Nevertheless, some people are more predisposed to developing an addiction more so than others. Certain contributing factors, or genetics, can mean a person is at high risk of developing an addiction. Addiction Helper only work with reliable services and private addiction treatment rehabs that treat the root causes of addiction through evidenced based therapeutic techniques.
Although sex and love addiction manifest in different outward symptoms, the root causes can be very similar in many cases. Uncovering and treating the root causes is very important; otherwise the individual will never gain awareness or an understanding of their condition. More to the point, they will not know how to make the essential changes required to sustain a healthy recovery from their particular addiction.
The following factors can contribute to an individual being at higher risk of developing a sex or love addiction:
- Family history – Sex and love addictions can be learned behaviours, and if a child is brought up in a home where one a main caregiver is a sex or love addict, that child may go on to believe that this behaviour is normal and so continue the cycle in their own relationships
- Hormones – Some individuals have higher sex hormone levels than others; this can affect their sex drive. Those with high levels of sex hormones may be compelled to engage in excessive sexual activity, as all they can think about is sex and seeking gratification.
- Traumatic experiences – Those who have suffered emotional, physical, sexual abuse or abandonment in childhood or during their first encounters with relationships, are more prone to developing a sex or love addiction. Their traumatic experience(s) is all they have to go on in terms of what a “normal” relationship should look like. Low self-esteem and self-worth can drive the individual to seeking out love and sex in the wrong places and with the wrong people. Their fear of rejection and abandonment, prevents them from developing true intimacy with another individual and also with themselves and others.
- Previous bad relationships – Individuals whom have suffered previously in a bad relationship in the past, may feel unworthy or obsessed with the idea of being in love. They may seek out numerous relationships, desperate to feel loved; or they may stay too long in unloving and unkind relationships, feeling that is all they deserve and that is what they are used to. They have no idea what a kind and loving relationship should look like. By carrying the unprocessed and unresolved baggage of their past bad experience(s), they will struggle to form healthy relationships with others.
Can Sex and Love Addiction Be Cured?
No addiction can be cured as such as addiction is a disease that resides in the individual’s brain, and there is always the high risk of them relapsing if they fail to adopt new and healthier ways of living and address and process the root causes of their addiction. Years of untreated addiction, need to be comprehensively treated and this takes time. Although addiction cannot be cured, it can be successfully treated; it can also be prevented from developing through education and nurture in the developmental years. Addiction is a disease that every individual needs awareness and education around. We do not treat addiction of any kind as a taboo subject; we are trying to break the barriers down and remove the shame that is attached to it. Through doing this, it is our hope that more will be able to speak about their struggles without fear of being judged and more will have the chance to make a full recovery, a life free from addiction and the associated maladaptive and self-destructive behaviours.
Are There Meetings or Free NHS Help for Sex and Love Addiction?
Sex and love addiction has been around for many, many years, but has only been recognised as a disorder in more recent years. Addiction Helper feel that this is most likely to be due to the shame and guilt the individual experiences and associates with these particular addictions.
As far as the NHS are concerned, although this is a recognised attachment disorder, there is little therapeutic help available. Waiting lists for specialist addiction therapies, counsellors and trauma therapy and sex therapy are lengthily and the treatment itself is low in terms of intensity and rarely covers all aspects of the individual. The best person to approach for help on the NHS, will be your local GP, to find out what options are available on the NHS and in your local area. Your Doctor can then make the appropriate referrals for treatment.
Free help is available through 12 Step self-help groups such as SLAA (sex and love Addiction Anonymous) CoDA (Co-dependency Anonymous) and SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous) please click on the relevant links to find out more and about meeting availability in your local area.
Sex and Love Addiction Rehab and Treatment Programme
Addiction Helper realise that due to the lack of intensive and non-judgemental support and treatment available for these two addictions, that sadly not many individuals find recovery. It is our aim to provide a tangible recovery pathway for any individual seeking recovery from ANY addiction or associated disorder. We therefore offer a number of high calibre CQC regulated private rehab clinics that specialise in the treatment or sex and love addiction. Addiction, no matter how it manifests is a progressive and killer illness. Too many are lost to the disease of addiction on a daily basis, as they have not had the opportunity or knowledge as to how to access the correct treatment to enable a permanent recovery. The death of an addict is something that loved ones and family members never recover from. We have seen it happen it all too often, and are passionate about helping those suffering and their families too. The vast majority of staff who work for Addiction Helper and the rehabs that we work with, are in recovery themselves. We personally invest in each client’s ongoing recovery with our time, compassion, knowledge and understanding. Our inpatient rehab recovery programmes offer a non-judgemental and nurturing environment, which promotes recovery and assists the individual in having their sanity restored through proven treatments delivered by a multidisciplinary team of professionals.
We understand the causes of Love and Sex addiction and how complex they can be. We offer a variety of highly effective treatment programme to those that suffer. Our elite rehabs are typically headed by professional teams of qualified Doctors, Nurses, Counsellors, Therapists and Support Workers who are highly trained and skilled in treating all forms of Love and Sex addiction, as well as the compulsive and destructive behaviours that accompany it. Whatever your treatment needs are, we are confident that we can accommodate you with the specific and specialist treatment required. With over 100 rehabs in the UK and many overseas that excel in terms of quality, safety and treatment, Addiction Helper can find you’re the perfect bespoke treatment package. We have personally visited and approved each and every rehab that we work with. They must meet with our high standards of ethical treatment, CQC regulations, and hygiene, appropriately and well equipped, only employ dedicated, qualified and experienced staff, offer value for money and follow tight protocols to ensure that clients we send there are in the safest hands possible. Furthermore all the rehabs we work with offer 12 months complimentary aftercare to all those that complete treatment. Whether you are looking for a low cost affordable rehab or a luxury rehab, we can help.
Sometimes sex or love addiction can be accompanied by another addiction, such as alcohol, drugs or co-dependency. Where this is the case, or where there is a co-occurring illness or Dual Diagnosis present such as Anxiety, Depression or PTSD; we ensure that all conditions presenting are treated simultaneously and in full. Where there is an alcohol or drug dependency present, whether that be illicit or prescription drugs, we will ensure that the individual is detoxed safely with the assistance of a full medical detox and treatment included to address that addiction also.
Proven and Effective Treatment for Sex and Love Addiction
Addiction Helpers rehab centres use a number of highly effective, powerful and evidence based addiction treatment healing therapies such as:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
- Individual Therapy
- 12 Step Therapy
- Trauma Therapy
- Mindful Fitness
- Relapse Prevention and Recovery Living Skills workshops
- Holistic programme, including proven addiction treatments such as Art, Music, Meditation, Exercise, Massage, Auricular acupuncture and much , much more.
We understand that in order for an addict to recover from any addiction, which a significant shift in thinking must be achieved and the underlying causes thoroughly addressed. The therapies that we promote are designed to achieve exactly this. Our treatment is holistic, meaning that our treatment programmes are designed to treat each individual as a whole person in mind, body and spirit.
Ensuring that no stone is left unturned, we strongly recommend a minimum inpatient treatment period of 28 days, ideally longer if the individual’s circumstances allows for it. We offer both long term and short term programmes, inpatient and day care, specialised counselling programmes and extended care. Whatever your treatment needs are, we will tailor the programme we recommend to help secure you or your loved one’s recovery and ongoing personal growth.
Addiction is medically classed as a “chronic relapsing brain disease”, those of you who are close to an addict, or are an addict trying to stay in recovery – but failing, will relate very much to this term. Addiction only ever gets progressively worse over time; so it is important to seek help as soon as possible and not delay treatment. We are able to facilitate emergency admissions and are here to help and support you 24/7.
Furthermore, many of our rehabs also offer a Family Recovery Programme; addiction affects everyone that is involved with the sufferer, and in order for all to move forward and be free from addiction, the whole family too will need help to heal from the past.
For more information on how we can help you as an individual or a loved one for a sex or love addiction, please call and speak to a member of our team or chat to us LIVE online now!