When you seek out professional treatment for sex addiction near Los Angeles, CA, you may be wondering how your addiction will be diagnosed. What differentiates ordinary sexual behavior from sex addiction? Many people might assume that you can determine the presence of an addiction from how many sexual encounters an individual has sought out, but this is not the case. Rather than being based on behavior, sex addiction is characterized by a pattern of obsessive mental preoccupation with the subject of sex. In this video, Dr. Patrick Carnes explains how addiction changes the way your brain functions, and how your day-to-day behavior can inadvertently reveal the nature of your addiction.
On the road to recovery, one of the most difficult obstacles is breaking the news to your partner that you have a porn addiction. But recovery does not occur in a vacuum and this is a necessary step toward true healing and rebuilding your relationship. At a porn addiction center in Los Angeles, CA , both you and your partner can find guidance from a relationship therapist.
Seek advice from your relationship therapist.
Discussing your porn addiction with your partner isn’t going to be easy, but your relationship therapist can help. He or she can guide you in finding an honest way to share the news that does not inflict further damage on your relationship. Your relationship therapist will likely suggest that you find the right time to sit down with your partner. Ideally, you should discuss your addiction when both of you have plenty of time and when other emotional situations aren’t clouding the issue.
Prepare yourself for your partner’s response.
There is no way to truly know in advance how your partner will respond to the news, but many people react with anger. This may be true even if your partner has had suspicions about your behaviors. He or she may have found suspicious charges on the credit card statement, for example, or detected your browsing history on the Internet. Yet, hearing that a loved one does indeed have an addiction to pornography can still come as a shock. Your partner may feel betrayed, hurt, and jealous. It is to be expected that these feelings will continue for a long time; do not try to rush your partner to “get over it.”
Avoid minimizing your behavior.
When a person must confess something to a partner, it is often tempting for that individual to attempt to justify or minimize his or her behavior. He or she might point out how the situation could have been worse. The individual might even suggest that the partner could somehow be to blame, such as by not being as attentive or amorous. However, sharing the news of a porn addiction is a time to accept full responsibility for your behavior and to acknowledge your faults. Only then can the two of you begin to work toward healing.
When you go to a sex addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, CA, you will cover many issues during your session with your sex addiction therapist, including how to rebuild trust in your relationship. It’s important to understand that trust and forgiveness are two distinct things.. With help from couple’s counseling at the sex addiction treatment center , trust and forgiveness can be discussed in a compassionate and open environment. However, rebuilding trust is an ongoing, lengthy process that cannot be rushed.
Be open about your concerns.
Part of rebuilding trust with your partner or spouse involves restoring your communication abilities. Intimacy in a relationship is more than physical; it’s also emotional. Share your feelings, concerns, and challenges openly with your partner. It will help both of you become reacquainted with each other and lead to a deeper, more meaningful relationship. For example, it’s not unusual for a recovering sex addict to feel uncomfortable in certain situations. You may be watching a movie with your partner when nude scenes appear on the screen. It is encouraged to tell your partner what you are feeling or thinking. It is okay to admit you are distressed or feeling triggered.
Get into the habit of being honest.
Before you sought sex addiction therapy, it’s likely that you got into the habit of lying about your behaviors. For many people, lying becomes second nature and these individuals may lie even about relatively innocuous issues. Now that you’re in recovery, it’s critically important that you be fully honest with your partner about everything. Practice being honest, whether that involves admitting that you didn’t take out the trash or that you spent more than you should have on an expensive dress shirt. All lies, big or small, erode the trust in a relationship. However, you can rebuild trust by demonstrating to your partner that you’re willing to be completely honest about everything.
Take on a proactive role in your relationship.
All addictions can be incredibly isolating. While you were in the grip of your sex addiction, you might not have been emotionally present in your relationship or in your household. One way to nurture the trust between you and your partner is to demonstrate that you are taking an active role in rebuilding the relationship and contributing to the household. Take the initiative to offer to cook dinner, take your partner out on a date, or help the kids with their homework. Be patient and persistent with your positive behaviors.
The destructive nature of all types of addictions affects many other people in addition to the addict. This is certainly true of sex addiction, in which the partner of the sex addict is likely to feel betrayed. Some partners might even wonder if they somehow could have prevented the infidelity. At a sex addiction rehab center in Los Angeles, CA, couples can seek help from a relationship therapist. During sessions with the relationship therapist, the partner or spouse of the addict may find some comfort in learning about the nature of addiction and discovering that the addict’s behaviors are not the fault of the partner or spouse.
It can feel empowering for both partners to be involved with the sex addiction program. Couple’s counseling is an opportunity to explore the path toward healing and take a renewed look at the relationship to evaluate whether it might be repaired. During couple’s counseling, both partners can discuss problems and conflicts in a constructive, compassionate way.
Today, it’s well understood that addiction is a real problem that is not caused by the lack of willpower. An alcoholic may try to cut down on his or her drinking without success. A heroin addict may want to get sober, yet suffer an overdose the next day. Despite the progress society has made toward removing the stigma of these types of addictions, there is still a great deal of controversy and many misunderstandings surrounding the nature of sex addictions. The reality of sex addiction is that it’s a real problem that an individual or couple needs professional guidance to overcome. If you’ve been affected by sex addiction, you should know that help is available at a sex addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, CA. You can speak with a sex addiction therapist about your concerns.
Understanding the Nature of Addiction
Like all addictions, sex addiction is a complex issue. Addiction essentially hijacks the brain, causing the loss of self-control and powerful cravings for the object of addiction. Within the brain, all sources of pleasure are interpreted in the same manner. When a pleasurable activity is perceived, the brain releases the neurotransmitter dopamine into the cluster of nerve cells below the cerebral cortex. This cluster is called the nucleus accumbens and it is also referred to as the brain’s pleasure center. Another region of the brain, the hippocampus, establishes the memory of the rush of satisfactory feelings associated with the pleasurable event. In turn, the amygdala establishes a conditioned response to the pleasurable stimuli. These processes set the stage for addictive behaviors.
Pursuing Behaviors Despite Negative Consequences
Individuals who suffer from sex addiction continue to pursue sexual encounters, solicit prostitutes, and view pornography despite the threat or the actuality of negative consequences. They may want to stop, but find themselves unable to do so. Before seeking sex addiction treatment, many individuals experience multiple negative consequences of their addiction such as marital strain or divorce, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), financial problems, job loss, or the loss of child custody. Ideally, individuals in these situations would seek outpatient sex addiction counseling before experiencing these problems.