Sex addiction occurs quite often in conjunction with other addictions. Although each addiction would seem to be associated with only one particular behavior, sex, drugs, or alcohol, for example, however, the underlying psychological motivations and impulses are relatively similar for all three addictions. Additionally, the underlying psychological motivations and impulses underlying these addictions tend to trigger similar effects and results in behavior.
A close linkage:
Further, research has demonstrated that there is a close linkage between sex, alcohol, and drug addiction. An estimated 40 to 60 percent of individuals demonstrating sexual addiction meet the criteria also for alcohol and/or drug addiction. Those having sex addictions admit to using alcohol and/or drugs to lower inhibitions, to provide stimulus, and to contribute to the sensations produced by the sexual experience. On the other hand, it is also not uncommon for individuals having one or more of these addictive behaviors to revert to them as a way to mitigate and deal with guilt or emotional pain. For sexually addictive behavior, alcohol and/or drugs are moderating substances that accompany and contribute to the desire for and performance of the sexual behavior. Some sex addicts use their alcohol or drug addictive behavior to excuse their sexual license. Thus, after a sexual “adventure,” the individual might say something like, “I guess I was just drunk. That’s what made me do it.” Or, “I was so high, I didn’t even know what I was doing.” In this way, the use of alcohol and drug is a way of excusing their sexual behavior.
What happens with some individuals is that a kind of ritual develops. The first element is the conscious or unconscious need and motive for sexual activity. The second element is the intoxication through the use of alcohol and/or drugs. The intoxication triggers the next element of the ritual, which is the seeking out and fulfillment in some manner of sexual needs and motivations. Thus, the intoxication element is essential to the completion and fulfillment of the full ritual. This is a behavior pattern that is reiterated and becomes habitual. For some enactors of the ritual, there may be a fourth element, which is remorse and shame which acts to hinder the reiteration of the ritual for a while, but eventually, the remorse wears off, replaced by the rising need for gratification, motivating the initiation of the ritual again.
The essential elements:
Therefore, in treating sexual addiction, the treatment cannot ignore the importance of the intoxicating agent, alcohol or drugs. This complicates the treatment as it is not focused on the eradication of only one behavioral impulse, but two or possibly three, sex, alcohol, and/or drugs. This complication is what makes self-treatment difficult and so often a failure. The sex addict may be conscious of the need for the mitigation or eradication of the negative sexual behavior, but may not realize the critical role that alcohol and/or drugs plays in the behavior. So, attempting to change the sexual behavior without addressing in some way the need also to deal with the alcohol and/or drug use or abuse, tends to adversely affect the progress in dealing with the sexual behavior.
The treatment plan:
That is why the expert assistance of a trained psychologist is so important. With the insight and understanding of the psychologist, the psychologist and the individual work out a treatment plan that is appropriately focused on dealing with the complexity of the problem in ways that the individual himself or herself cannot do.
Your psychologist can help:
The complex matter of entwined drug and sex addiction is a condition which is treatable through a variety of psychological interventions and treatments. The first step in alleviating drug addiction or sex addiction or some combination of both is to start talking to a psychologist who will help you to identify the source of your problems and create means and methods to alleviate the need for these behaviors.