Sex Addiction (otherwise known as Addiction involving sex) involves symptoms of out of control behaviour and the same seeking of escape, reward and relief that people struggling with Addiction involving substances experience.  Typically there is a great deal of time, effort and resources put into obtaining and participating in the behaviours; there are significant consequences to these behaviours; and there is an inability to stop without help in spite of the desire to do so.  Behaviours may include compulsively acting out with pornography and masturbation, use of escorts, having sex with others outside a committed relationship.

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, memory, motivation and related circuitry.  Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations.  This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief, including using Sex Addiction for this purpose. Addiction is about differences in brain functioning where the substance use or behaviours are recognized as consequences of the disease.  Addiction is a single condition-Addiction is Addiction rather than describing “addictions”. This is the reason that we use the language of “Addiction involving…”

Addiction is characterized by:

A. Inability to consistently Abstain
B. Impairment in Behavioural control
C. Craving
D. Diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviour and interpersonal relationships
E. Dysfunctional Emotional response

Sex Addiction Treatment

Abstinence is usually not the long-term goal of treatment involving sex; however an initial period of abstinence maybe required to establish a foundation of recovery.  Through Sex Addiction counselling, awareness is cultivated about the specific areas in which the individual is vulnerable to Sex Addiction. This may be in the realm of fantasy, acting out with multiple partners, specific people or certain environments, to name a few common vulnerable areas. The goal is to then establish and maintain internal boundaries in these areas to promote recovery and health. Slips into compulsive behaviour are to be anticipated and are used to readdress boundaries and recovery priorities. This work may be done in residential, partial hospitalization, intensive or outpatient settings and participation in Sex Addiction specific 12-step groups is often very useful. This participation helps to drastically reduce shame and opens up dialogue about behaviours that would otherwise remain secret.

At Health Upwardly Mobile, we provide outpatient-continuing care for Addiction.  All new clients initially undergo our comprehensive assessment. It is recommended that all appointments be done on separate days to optimize the opportunity for you to talk openly and honestly with each professional and learn incrementally through each interaction. A comprehensive treatment plan will be developed throughout this process and shared with you as the assessment progresses. By the final assessment session, recommendations will be discussed, which will provide guidance regarding ongoing services at HUM, which includes individual counselling and group therapy.  Referrals to external resources will be done as needed.