Substance Abuse and Addictions
Understanding Substance Abuse and Addiction
Substance abuse issues and addiction issues rarely happen in isolation and are often connected to deeper-rooted issues. In order to work with these issues or the aftermath of them a better understanding of their causes often helps. The following clips explain the issues surrounding addiction very simply.
If you are struggling with addiction, I am more than happy to suggest several referral pathways depending on your specific issues. Additionally I am always happy to work with someone in recovery or with a past addiction.
In order to engage in therapy is it is vital to have your substance issues or addiction under control.
Sex Addiction, Compulsive sexual behavior, and Sexual difficulties, Intimacy & Sexuality, Internet Cybersex Pornography, Cruising Saunas & Public Sex Smartphone Apps, Sex Parties, Recreational Drugs & Sex, Unsafe Sex, Infidelity, Intimacy
What is Sex Addiction?
Sex Addiction, Substance Addictions, and Alcohol Addiction are usually associated with people who have reached the point where the addiction or the behavior / substance use is so strong that it has reached a serious intervention point.
For some the addiction reaches a point where physically the body cannot take anymore, hope is lost or there is a real sense of loss of control. The addiction has taken over and intervention is needed. Support using a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Sex Love Addictions Anonymous (SLAA), and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is the most common route of action for people who have reached this point.
What about you?
Are you unsure if addiction is quite the word to describe your behavior? Are you concerned about it? Have you noticed an increase or changes in your sexual activity, have you recently found yourself in situations that surprised you, have you taken risks?
What about afterwards – how do you feel? Guilty? Shame? Regret?
Talking to a counselor about your concerns can help you to identify what makes you vulnerable to sex addiction.
The questions below will help you to decide if talking to a professional about your concerns is the right course of action for you.
Ask Yourself – if your answers are predominantly yes or if you feel that the questions resonate with you then counseling and psychotherapy can help. Talk about your concerns. You can talk about all aspects of your sexual behavior, your sexuality and any sexual difficulties you are experiencing.
Without judgment, with an open and honest dialogue.
- Are you concerned about your sexual behaviour?
- Are you finding yourself behaving in a way that you are not happy about?
- Do you feel that your sexual drive is out of control? does it feel compulsive?
- Do you feel you have to manage the compulsion you have to act out and engage in sexual activities?
- Do you try to control how much sex you are having?
- Do you pay for online/cyber sex?
- Is your pursuit for sex getting in the way of other things (work, projects, family time)?
- Do you fear relationships but continually search and romanticise about being in a relationship?
- Are you afraid of sex? Is masturbation, fantasy, voyeurism, anonymity, cybersex your preference?
- Is your behaviour causing you financial problems?
- Is it taking more time, more fantasy, more intensity to feel satisfied?
- Are you taking more risks? Has unsafe sex become part of your sexual behaviour?
- Is the attraction and excitement quickly followed by feeling guilty, ashamed and feeling like you are not in control?
- Do you feel ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ from your behaviour?
- How often do you have sex at inappropriate times, in inappropriate places and/or with inappropriate people?
- Are you experiencing difficulties with sex? Have you noticed changes in your ability to perform?
- Is your sex life secretive? Are you ashamed, embarrassed about your sexual preferences and activities?
- Is having sex the only time you feel really alive?
- Are you increasingly focused on sex, engaging in sexual activities and finding sexual release?
- Is it risky? Are you having sex in public? Do you try to video sexual acts in riskier public places?
- How often and how long do you spend online looking at pornography, in cam-rooms?
- Have you lost count of your sexual partners?
- Do you use sex to escape from stress, anxiety, resentment or other uncomfortable feelings?
- Have you put yourself in danger, been arrested or put yourself in a legal situation because of your sexual activity?
- How connected do you feel during sex? How intimate is the experience?
- Are you drawn to people who are unavailable to you?
- Do you ever feel that you have to have sex? Sexual Mental Health
Do the questions above resonate with you?
Sexual difficulties, compulsive sexual behaviours, avoidance of intimacy and intimate relationships, concerns about your sexual fantasies and the consequences and impact of your sexual behaviour on other parts of your life are all contributors to your sexual mental health and sexual wellbeing.
If you are experiencing concerns, doubts, anxiety, compulsivity, guilt, regret, despair, financial constraints, problems at work or home because of your sexual mental health then talking to a counsellor and finding the support you need is the right choice of action.
Clues & Indicators of Sexual Mental Health
Consider the following list when you Ask Yourself about your sexual mental health. They may raise questions about any sexual difficulties you are experiencing.
- increased focus on sex, sexual activity and sexualising of others
- an uncontrollable urge to watch pornography, to sign into sex-encounter smartphone applications, to seek out casual sex, to engage in sexual activity
- using a computer triggers a trance-like urge to look at pornography
- strain on finances
- drinking alcohol triggers the urge to cruise public places for casual sex
- hours daily/weekly are spent online
- intimate love-making is becoming more difficult
- feelings of shame, regret, disgust after sex
The clues and indicators may also help to inform you as you consider where you are on the spectrum of sex addiction and compulsive sexual behaviour.
Sex addiction is not defined by gender. Both men and women are vulnerable to developing the triggers and behaviours that can lead to sex addiction.
Counselling for Sex Addiction & Sexual Difficulties requires a collaborative, open and honest approach so that you can get the most out of discovering a healthier sexual outlook with healthy sexual behaviour patterns and choices.
Smartphones & technology
More recently and in direct relationship to the advancements of technology, an increasing amount of men and women are experiencing sex and intimacy difficulties.
The availability of pornography and casual sex encounters through the use of mobile phone technology (using applications on your smart phone to find sex partners) is easy, immediate, instantly accessible & gratifying, affordable, anonymous (if wanted) and habit forming.
Has virtual dating, or cyber casual sex encounters, mobile pornography and the use of Smartphone social-sex applications become a problem? Does engaging in this sexual behaviour prevent you from engaging in intimate, loving relationships?
Counselling & Psychotherapy can help you to discover safe and meaningful ways to counter-act the habit forming use of these applications. The relationship you have with sex is an intimate, deeply personal and private relationship.
When things don’t feel right with this relationship it can feel isolating and shameful.
Counselling offers a place where you can discuss all aspects of the sexual difficulties you are experiencing in a respectful, non-judgemental and supportive atmosphere.