What does it mean to be love addicted? Sex addiction explained.

What do you think of when you hear the words “sex addict“? Do you imagine someone who has sex dozens of times a day? Someone who owns a lot of sex toys? Someone who spends all their time immersed in pornography?

While all of these scenarios, and others, can identify someone with a sexual addiction, the crucial part of identifying an addict has to do with the consequences of the behavior and the person’s inability to control them. That being said, sex addiction is a relatively recent idea. In fact, it’s sometimes called love addiction instead.

So what is sex addiction?

A sexual addict experiences the same type of uncontrollable compulsions that others feel in different forms of addiction (like substance, alcohol, gambling, shopping, etc). In his book (Out of the Shadow: Understanding Sexual Addiction) Carnes talks about the compulsive sexual behavior as guiding a misperception of the self.

In simple words: Sex addicts’ view of themselves depends on their relationship with sexual behavior. Since they often find themselves unable to control the behavior, they often have trouble with their self-image.

What is sex addiction NOT?

Let us look at some of the NOTS of sexual addiction. Sex addicts are not people who are just hypersexual and get satisfied with their sexual behaviors; rather, they are often not satisfied with the sexual activities that they engage in. Sex addicts are not necessarily Casanovas, but are often normal functioning people who find themselves having to hide their compulsive sexual urges.

While some sex addicts do pay for sex, others are compulsive about watching porn and others simply struggle with monogamy. The point is, the stigma of sex addicts as predatory child molesters needs to be put to rest.

How common is sex addiction?

Sex addiction is a major problem in our society. Some estimate that as many as 15 million people in the U.S. are sexual addicts (roughly 8% of all men and 3% of women). Easy access to porn offered by the internet has most likely increased the prevalence of sexual addiction in the past decade. In fact, for most people getting porn addiction help specifically is the problem.

The costs for those suffering from sex addiction are also numerous: Relationships and families are disrupted and destroyed, the addict’s self-esteem diminishes as they are unable to be productive in other areas of their life; illegal activity (like prostitution) ends up causing arrests, and health is often affected through the contraction of diseases.

Am I a sex addict?

Now, don’t immediately assume that you are a sex addict because you fantasize about sex a lot. But how does one know if they are addicted to sex?

The simple rule is: no impairment, no addiction.Sex addiction

On the other hand, if day to day functioning is affected by the behavior (in this case, something sexual), this may be an indication of a problem. So, whether it be having sex often, thinking of sex, or even just being extremely horny, if it’s making a person’s daily activities or relationships dysfunctional and if they are unable to control their behavior they may be defined as a sex addict.

In future posts we will look more into the symptoms, forms, theories, and treatments related to sex addiction. In the mean-time, keep reading, and if you feel brave enough, share your story; who knows, you may be able to help someone else who is love addicted!!!

Sex addiction help from All About Addiction

If you need help finding treatment for your own, or a loved one’s sex addiction, make sure to give our Rehab-Finder a try: It’s the only evidence-based, scientifically created, tool for finding rehab anywhere in the United States!

Rx for reform: Spend on addiction treatment now, save later.

This was originally posted on takepart.com:

StatisticsThe debate about healthcare reform is raging with democrats and republicans seemingly entrenched in their positions on different sides. The overall question is simple: How do we reduce the cost of healthcare in this country without negatively affecting the quality of it?

US healthcare can be some of the most advanced and innovative in the world. Unfortunately, it can also leave nearly 46 million Americans with too little, or even no, coverage. With insurance companies caring more about the bottom line than about people’s health and well being (that is, along with safety, after all the stated job of the government, isn’t it?) individuals lose, or are not granted, coverage when they become unprofitable.

If you’ve seen Sicko, or a number of other productions dedicated to this problem, you know where this story leads: Bankruptcies, homelessness, and the destruction of families, due to cancers, genetically acquired maladies, and other chronic illnesses. This might be okay with some Americans, but it’s not okay with many of us.

Those who oppose reform are using the same scare tactics and generalities they normally resort too, warning us of the loss of our health coverage by this government takeover. If you’re told that regular checkups at the doctor will save you thousands in overall medical costs (and we all are), it would be silly to consider the co pay for the regular doctor visits an additional cost burden. In fact, those smaller payments are allowing you to avoid more expensive, and painful, procedures down the line.

The constant barrage of republican scare messages seems to ignore that simple fact. Spend more now to save money later has worked with thermostats, energy efficient appliances, consumer conveniences like AAA, and will work with a healthcare reform overhaul.

In the same way, treating drug addicts will reduce their burden on our healthcare system. Spending even tens of thousands of dollars on an individual that costs that much yearly in emergency room visits will reduce their total financial burden on society as long as it significantly reduces the number, and severity, of the healthcare visits they seek. And if we add to this and give coverage to the same group, many of whom are uninsured, and you’ve hit the jackpot.

Let’s clarify what costs we’re talking about:

  • With the average cost of an ER visit ranging from $200 to $2000, and an average of 13.3 ER visits per year for untreated addicts, we end up with costs ranging between $2600 and $26000 per year per addict in additional costs. Given the estimates of about 23 million addicts in the US, that takes us, even at the low end, to $60 billion more just for ER visits (the high end would leave us close to half a trillion).

Fortunately, addicts who enrolled in treatment had ER costs that were reduced by 20% and those who completed treatment reduced those costs by 50%!!!

All of this doesn’t take into account health costs associated with chronic illnesses and other indirect effects of addictions. Since these include heart disease (hypertension, stroke) cancers (lung cancer especially), and more (liver disease, kidneys, etc.) even the most conservative estimates would add additional billions of dollars in costs to our healthcare system annually.

As of right now, tax payers are left holding the tab for many of these services. California businesses and families alone shoulder a hidden health tax of roughly $1,400 per year on premiums as a direct result of subsidizing the costs of the uninsured**.  Similar numbers are available for other states, and our federal dollars subsidize even more of the overall healthcare system burden left behind by those who can’t pay for it.

Some suggest that we simply stop providing services to those who can’t afford them. The reality is that all we’ll end up with in that case are millions of people who will become hospitalized through our correctional system. If you need serious healthcare, you’ll do anything to get it. The US already holds the proud distinction of having more than 50% of the world’s prison population while only making up 5% of the overall population. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather lose that number 1 spot.

Addiction treatment may be expensive, but it’s far less expensive than the ER services I mentioned earlier. By allowing individuals to have coverage for those services, we’ll take away some of the burden those same individuals are currently placing on our system AND improve lives at the same time.

My last point has to do with the “pre-existing conditions” clause so many insurance companies love so much. As our understanding of many diseases, including addiction, improves, we’re finding genetic, environmental, and developmental effects on almost all conditions. If we don’t do something to eliminate such restrictions, we may all soon end up paying more that we could possibly be expected to afford because our genes show we have a slightly elevated risk for things like hypertension, arthritis, or yes, even addiction.

It’s time to change the conversation about this and take away the notion that any of us will lose anything in this reform effort. If you have money, you will always be able to get better treatment – this conversation isn’t about you. This entire debate should focus squarely on those who aren’t getting the medical services they deserve by their mere existence as human beings. Every other civilized society on earth recognizes this by now. It’s time for us to make our way out of the dark ages.

**Furnas, B., Harbage, P. (2009). “The Cost Shift from the Uninsured.” Center for American Progress.