Betrayal is the greatest source of pain to an addict’s spouse. It is not so much the addict’s drinking, using, spending, or sexting that causes the most hurt to a loving spouse – it’s the lying, broken promises, and loss of trust.
“The child who is used and/or abandoned emotionally by their parent has the chance to develop his intellectual capacities undisturbed, but not the world of his emotions and this will have far-reaching consequences for his well-being.” – Alice Miller: The Drama of the Gifted Child
Many people suffer from sexual addictions and don’t know where to turn for help. You are not alone. Don’t let addiction interfere with your marriage, family life, job, or health. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be healthy.
Take the Sex and Porn Addiction Screening Quiz.
What are the signs and symptoms of sexual addiction?
The DSM has yet to describe specific diagnostic criteria for sex addictions; however, some researchers have suggested symptoms and signs that are similar to other addictions. Sex addicts have been described specifically as suffering from a negative pattern of sexual behavior that leads to significant problems or distress that may include the following:
- A need for more or a need to increase intensity of behavior to achieve the desired effect (tolerance)
- Physical or psychological feelings of withdrawal when unable to engage in the addictive behavior
- Making plans for, engaging in, or recovering from the behavior begins to take longer than planned, or the person is spending more and more time pursuing the addiction
- Desire or unsuccessful attempts to decrease or stop the behavior
- Neglecting important social, work, or school activities because of the behavior
- Continuing the behavior despite suffering physical or psychological problems caused or worsened by the sexual behavior
In an abundance of caution, Dr. Ryan will want to make sure you have had a physical examination with your physician. We want to rule out medical conditions that may include hyper-sexual symptoms. Examples of such conditions include seizures, tumors, dementia, and Huntington’s disease, which may involve injuries to certain areas of the brain like the frontal or temporal lobes and therefore affect behavior. There are other disorders associated with hyper-sexual behavior, including some developmental disorders, borderline personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and multiple personality disorder (MPD).
What does sexual addiction include?
- Chronic Infidelity
- Compulsive Masturbation
- Love & Relationship Addiction
- Online Hookups
- Pornography Addiction
- Prostitutes & Massage
- Sexual Addiction
- Strip Clubs
Sexual addiction is a process addiction, just like gambling, internet, video gaming, workaholism, binge eating, exercise, and spending.
What is the treatment for sexual addiction?
Many people with a sexual addiction benefit from the support and structure of recovery groups like Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, and Sexaholics Anonymous. Dr. Ryan often uses therapy to help individuals with sex addiction learn their individual triggers for sexually destructive (acting out) behaviors. He can help you learn to reevaluate distortions in your thoughts that contribute to your acting out behaviors, and ultimately control those behaviors. In addition, Dr. Ryan uses deep emotional processing techniques (including AEDP) to help you understand and control unpleasant feelings that sometimes precede, lead to, and follow sexual acting out. If your sexual compulsions become severe, you may require help from an inpatient treatment center or intensive outpatient program.
Why seek help for sexual addiction?
There are a number of potentially devastating complications of sexual addiction, including:
- Contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including the potentially fatal HIV or hepatitis B or C.
- Occupational consequences include decreased work performance or attendance due to the preoccupation with the addiction.
- Legal problems like sexual harassment or rape perpetration may result.
- Sexual addiction that involves attraction to minors may cause engagement in child molestation.
- You may incur a great deal of debt.
- You may engage in illegal or otherwise unsafe activity associated with the behavior.
- You are at risk for terrible guilt and shame and are more likely to experience broken relationships, separation, and divorce.
The betrayed spouse needs:
- Concrete direction regarding self-care, health issues, talking to family, and more
- Education about addiction, disclosure, family dynamics, support
- Holding and validation of their reality and feelings
- Disclosure and clarity regarding their unknown history
- Social support by professionals (peers and family where useful)
- Structure toward moving forward
The betrayed spouse needs to know:
- How do I know if this is all there is to know?
- How will I know if my spouse acts out again?
- How is trust re-established?
Dr. Ryan can help you
Dr. Ryan is a licensed psychologist who understands that sexual addiction, porn addiction, and love addiction are real addictions. He has been helping people recover from these addictions for over 20 years.
Dr. Ryan has worked with people who developed addiction treatment strategies specifically for the recovery and elimination of the sexual behaviors that interfere with your life.
Dr. Ryan treats people just like you. Men, women, married, single: many people struggle with sexual addiction. There is no judgment, only help.
You can get help with sexual addiction therapy. Call now, or just fill out the contact form and click Send.