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Sexual addiction is a psychological disorder that stems from an addiction to the chemical in the brain that is released during sex. This brain stimulant is called Dopamine. This chemical controls body functions such as moving or walking. If the brain doesn't have enough of this substance, functioning may become difficult or it may cause immobility.
On the other hand, a surplus of Dopamine in the brain causes uncontrollable movements and involuntary functions. When the Dopamine chemicals are activated and released into the brain, a type of "reward" is stimulated. For example, if a person eats a favorite food, the taste buds enjoy the flavor and positive emotions are released throughout the body. When a person does not have enough Dopamine in the body, he or she has no motivation and becomes tired or depressed. Dopamine is an addictive, though natural, substance. When someone continually does something to release Dopamine in the brain, it lowers the pleasure level, causing the brain to become unsatisfied with that task. This will cause the brain to begin to desire more of the chemical. Psychological disorders such as sexual addiction can develop when an individual becomes addicted to the chemical Dopamine. When a person has sexual relations, the brain enjoys the release of Dopamine. The brain sends signals to repeat the action so that more of the chemical is released. This can cause a person to constantly have sexual desires and drives. This drive can become so overwhelming that personal relationships and daily routines are jeopardized.
Common symptoms of sexual addiction include trading drugs or other possessions for sexual favors, engaging in frequent sexual behavior, spending time with sexual photographs or other sexual objects, forsaking friends and family for a sex partner, and uncontrollable sexual desires. Although the individual may want to turn away from the sexual addiction, it is a psychological disorder and treatment will be needed in order to break the addiction. Like an alcohol or drug addiction, rehabilitation and medications are available for sexual addiction. A psychiatrist or other mental health professional may diagnose a patient with these symptoms and recommend treatment accordingly. Medicines that are prescribed for obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit disorder can be used to treat the impulse part of sexual addiction. Medicines that restore Dopamine levels may be helpful as well. Individual counseling sessions or marital counseling is available to those who have a more serious addiction. During a psychiatrist visit, healthy sexual habits can be discussed so that the patient understands how to maintain a healthy sex life.
This post is brought to you by Argosy University. Drawing upon our more than 30-year history of granting degrees in professional psychology, Argosy University has developed a curriculum that focuses on interpersonal skills and practical experience alongside academic learning. Because getting a degree is one thing. Succeeding, quite another.
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