Sunday, February 12, 2017

Help-I Am Falling In Love Wtih An Escort-Sex Addiction Treatment


In developing patterns of compulsive behaviour, sex addicts genuinely want to stop their actions but can't – despite the often serious consequences. Sexual Addiction is disorder of the brain and is characterised by delusion about sexual wants and love. In terms of sexual arousal, brains begin to adapt to increasing stimuli, derived from pornography and other sexually stimulating materials, and leading to a variety of sexual acting out behaviours, including compulsive masturbation. Some sexual addicts never act out sex with actual people, but for many pornography and masturbation stimuli aren’t good enough and they look to more engaging stimuli to achieve the desired high, in part to reset their brain’s neurons. 

To further escalate arousal, an addict may start looking at escort sites. They may delude themselves into thinking and believing: “I’ll just have a look”. However, delusion has now firmly taken hold: the addict is pursuant of further arousal and the compulsion to act is far too strong to resist. “I've already come this far, why not just go to a motel room and meet up?”


Despite the incredible guilt, shame, and disbelief, the addict will begin pursuing even more and entertaining, even greater delusions. Some addicts increase arousal and push the triggers of their brain’s reward centres by hiring two escorts or prostitutes. Others might even steadfastly believe that they are falling for their escort: they might support this delusion with the grandiose notion of buying them expensive gifts or even setting them up in an apartment. An addict might feel so strongly in love with their escort that they may even want nothing more than to marry them – leaving their partners, children, and family behind.


Problematically, as the intensity of these activities and desires increase, so too do the delusions:  the addict may start to distance themselves from their partner and isolate themselves from their families. It is not uncommon for many sex addiction therapists to hear sex addicts declare their undying love for their escorts. In spite of fully knowing and being consciously aware of just how financially exploited they are being, the sex addict simply cannot cease their compulsive behaviour – behaviours which are now becoming increasingly dangerous, harmful, and emotionally distressing.


When caught within the throes of sex addiction, addicts are also ensnared in the throes of delusion. Non normative sexual behaviours start becoming normalised: “They’re all mine”, the addict thinks. Unfortunately by now, it’s common for addicts to be so hijacked by their escort rituals that they no longer desire sex with their partner. Yet they still believe they’re in control: it’s only until they’re thrust deeply into shame that reality begins breaking through.


While men suffering from an addiction to sex will fearlessly pursue it, they are actually chasing something else, according to Dr Kenneth Adams, an international expert in this field of sex addiction.

"It's not about sex at all. Rather it's a way sex addicts medicate their feelings, wounds and insecurities," he says.


Adams, who was in Sydney in 2016 to run a course on a fresh approach to treating this condition, says these addicts have developed patterns of compulsive behaviour which they genuinely want to stop but can't, even though the consequences can be dire.

Unlike a promiscuous and opportunistic narcissist who feels entitled and doesn't have much regret afterwards, a sex addict is in his shame. While the narcissist experiences no conflict with his behaviour, the addict does.

The new approach Adams was teaching at South Pacific Private, an addiction and mental health facility in Sydney, is geared to preserving the addict's primary relationship with his partner while limiting the damage that discovery and complete disclosure can cause to the family structure.

The course was developed by the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP).


Adams has 30 years' experience in this area, co-edited the text book Clinical Management of Sex Addiction and is on the editorial board of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention.

In the United States an estimated 3 to 5 per cent of men have a sexual addiction and there is concern that unprecedented access to sex online is drawing more vulnerable people into addiction.

"The more opportunity, more access to funds and the more the culture supports gratification at the cost of integrity, the more likely the numbers will go up," he says.


But there are various views about what constitutes sexual addiction as was evident earlier in 2016 when former New York congressman, Anthony Weiner, was in trouble yet again for exposing himself to women over the Internet.

It was his third scandal in five years. Some said this politically brilliant, well connected man with a high profile wife and a child was clearly suffering sexual addiction. Others discounted this saying it was an oversimplification that reduced the psychological complexity that drives self-destructive behaviour.

Whatever the theory, it is agreed sex addiction is a disorder of the brain and is characterized by impaired impulse control, escalations of sexual acts, sexual thoughts, and sexual cravings, and by the addict's inability to stop their behaviour, despite their awareness of negative consequences.


Whether it's eating, gambling, sex, shopping or drugs, Adams says all addiction begins with a flooding sensation in the brain. While the sex addiction cycle can take various forms, a typical male scenario would begin with preoccupation.

 "The reward system in the man's brain begins ticking up. He starts feeling high and as his brain floods, he thinks about looking up a porn site, "says Adams.

He may go to the men's room at work and in the privacy of cubicle, go online on his phone. Later in the day, he'll do it again and again.

He manages to suppress any inkling that he should stop because as his front lobes go offline so he's into the ritual of going online.

He is driven, in part, by what is known as the "triple A engine" of cybersex. Affordability, accessibility and perceived anonymity remove the major inhibitors of sexual excess and after a while, vulnerable people like him can become hooked in. 


"With sexual arousal, the brain begins to adapt. What fires together wires together," says Adams, describing this process as neuroplasticity.

But over time, this is no longer sufficient and as he seeks more he starts to reset his brain.  To escalate arousal, he begins looking at escort sites.  Never, in a million years, did he imagine he'd do this and he tells himself they'll just have a drink.


Delusion has taken hold, he is in pursuit, and is missing danger cues that would be obvious to others.  The compulsion to act is so strong he thinks 'what the heck, I've gone this far, we are having a drink, let's just go to the motel'.

"Afterwards when he's driving home, he feels ashamed, guilty and can't believe what's he has done, "says Adams. "He's spent all that money, had unprotected sex and feels terrible. Now he has to face his wife and kids."

But the next time his selfhood is in jeopardy, he'll go back in pursuit. Adams repeatedly emphasises that this is not about hyped desire but about fortifying internal fragility.


Despite how others perceive him, internally he's always one step ahead of feeling inadequate, insecure and anxious. 

Eventually the brain reward centres don't work like they used to, so again he turns up the intensity to increase the dopamine rush. The need for more sex is not based on desire for more, but desire to alter his mood more.

He's becoming a little grandiose and this time might hire two escorts. Or he might think he's falling in love with his escort and buy her a car or perhaps set her up in an apartment. He may even want to marry her.


As the intensity of these activities increase, so does the delusion and he starts distancing himself from his partner. Adams has heard many men declare they are in love with escorts. They know they are being exploited financially but can't stop.

"In the throes of addiction these men are also in the throes of delusion. 'She's all mine' they think as they normalise sexual behaviour that is no longer normative."

By now it's not uncommon for these men to be so hijacked by ritual they no longer want sex with their partner. But they think they are in control and reality doesn't break through until they are thrust into deep shame.

Financial difficulty, crossing a line at work or a crisis of discovery at home, can fracture their delusion.


Adams says in most cases, the wife discovers something is going on but doesn't have whole story. In pain and in conflict, the couple come for help. While he's denying and minimizing, her world has fallen apart. She's been deceived and feels devastated, angry and hurt.

But she's only seen the tip of the iceberg and if she's immediately exposed to the bulk below, the damage may be irreparable.

"We teach therapists to reign that in so we can get to a formal disclosure process," says Adams. "But we do allow for safety disclosures."

If she is at risk of a sexually transmitted disease or is facing humiliation because a sister, a best friend or a babysitter is involved, she needs to know. The same applies if there is a risk of public disclosure.


In the past marital therapists saw this as an inter-relationship problem for the couple. "That was a huge mistake," says Adams.

"The addict would say 'if only she was more intimate, if only she'd dress up, if only she'd watch some porn with me - I wouldn't be doing any of this'. This left the partner feeling it was all her fault."

Adam's order of business is to manage the addiction process and prepare for structured disclosure. "First we put the addict into recovery and then we help her manage her own reality. Once she's over the discovery shock, we help her get clear about the questions she has."


"Once the truth is out and he's in recovery, we can begin to see if amends can be made and repair is possible. These require serious steps and some couples are unwilling to take them."

"But we are seeing more couples going on to have their 'second marriage' with one another. It's not easy, but it happens."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pornography And Kids



In this modern day and technologically-advanced Internet age, vast amounts of information are readily available to anyone who goes looking for them – with children and pornography serving as no exception. Though legal, pornography can have a significant and lasting impact on the quickly developing brain of an impressionable child. Exposure to sexually explicit material presents numerous threats and dangers to all kids – both young boys and girls.

Stumbling across graphic pornography by accident can be an incredibly distressing and upsetting experience for kids – especially since they are not expecting to see it, nor are they developmentally prepared for it. This confronting and complex set of stimuli is incredibly difficult for such an underdeveloped mind to properly process: at such early ages, 8 and 9-year-old children are far from possessing the necessary cognitive and emotional capacities to fully understand the particular information presented to them.

However, children at a young age are also incredibly inquisitive – their instinctive curiosity can lead them to find out more about human sexuality, often through the Internet. There, they can then be exposed to potentially harmful sexual material and scenarios. Pornography –  as a maladaptive teacher – can severely and negatively influence kids' future attitudes, expectations, and values towards safe sexual practices, healthy sexual relationships, and their sexual partners, as well as to issues regarding trust and consent.

Exposure to pornography can also lead to the untimely sexualisation of a child, increasing their chances of engaging in unsafe sexual experimentation – serious health risks such as infections, diseases, abuse, and exploitation can follow. This can also instigate problematic sexual behaviour against others – including children – as the child attempts to grapple with the sudden emergence of complicated emotions and thoughts. These unresolved issues can persist well into adulthood, hindering optimal psychosocial and sexual development, with serious consequences for future relationships.

Parents have a number of options available to them when it comes to dealing with their children and pornography in an adaptive manner – however, communication is of vital importance. It's important to listen to your child and provide emotional support, especially during sensitive times: show them you care by giving them your time in a space that's free of shame, judgement and rejection.

Being actively involved in your child's life during those important developmental stages means you can supervise them, making sure they stay protected while simultaneously fostering positive social and sexual development through an open and honest dialogue. By discussing issues such as the various types of interpersonal relationships and boundaries; rights and responsibilities; and the associated health risks regarding sexual behaviour, parents can ensure their child is kept safe and adequately informed.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


QUITTING PORNOGRAPHY ADDICTION

In today’s society, what was once taboo has now become widely accepted as the new norm – pornography has quickly crossed long-standing cultural borders and pervades almost every aspect of our modern lives. This proliferation of pornography – particularly within mainstream culture - has led many therapists to label it an 'epidemic'.  As such, cases of addiction to pornography are rapidly rising in number, becoming more and more frequent in Australia than ever before. Sex Addiction Australia provides a number of discreet and effective treatments for this debilitating addiction, one that affects one’s wellbeing in a numerous ways.
With the help of our renowned sex therapist, you can put a stop to this vicious cycle – we offer specialist sex therapy, working to restore lost intimacy between partners, as well as facilitating relapse prevention and relationship recovery. Take back control of your life today.

'YOUR BRAIN ON PORN': WHAT DOES MENTAL HEALTH RESEARCH HAVE TO SAY?

Cambridge University in the UK has recently released a study on the detrimental effects that pornography addiction has on the human brain. Led by Dr Valerie Voon, the study’s results confirmed that sexual addiction – much like addiction of any kind – is indeed an identifiable and diagnosable neurological disorder. It also identified similarities between the behaviours of addiction in both drugs and pornography – particularly, how the effects of both these addictions target three specific regions of the brain.

HOW TO QUIT PORN

Don’t be a prisoner of addiction - Sex Addiction Australia can help you break free of unwanted, intrusive and compulsive behaviours that harm you and hurt those closest to you. With many years of experience, our highly trained professional counsellors and clinical sex therapists can successfully treat addictive behaviours by:

• disrupting maladaptive thought patterns

• implementing corrective behaviours

• providing lasting cognitive strategies and therapeutic solutions to prevent relapses

Our discreet counselling sessions are specifically designed to ensure you feel totally at ease while discussing sensitive and personal sexual topics. We take an individualised and personally-tailored approach to sex addiction treatment, in order to suit our clients' needs.

PREVALENCE OF PORNOGRAPHY ADDICTION

Addiction to pornography develops gradually and over an extended period of time, as do most addictions. What begins as a harmless, fun and exciting sexual curiosity can escalate and develop into a destructive pattern of obsessive behaviour. A US study estimates that 56% of men and 41% of women consume pornography on a monthly basis, and an estimated 8 to 10% of the adult population are believed to be addicted to compulsive sex and/or pornography. These figures reflect that, whilst a minute subset of people exposed to pornography may develop obsessive behaviours resulting in addition, the majority of people do not become addicted. However, the ever-increasing propagation of pornography needn’t result in acute dependence in order to adversely affect one’s life – there exist a myriad of social, emotional, and cultural ramifications due to the spread and acceptance of porn.

IS PORNOGRAPHY THREATENING OUR SOCIETY?

Neurological studies have discovered that the brain is capable of significant sexual plasticity: that is, acquiring new tastes and sexual desires depending on the stimuli – both sexual and non-sexual – that it is presented with. The overwhelming volume and sheer ease of access to both softcore and hardcore pornography carry with it an inherit danger. This stimuli – one of instantaneous, sensual gratification – can serve to manipulate the brain into craving more pornography, even if the viewer does not enjoy watching pornography itself. In today’s Internet age, children are accessing and being exposed to more mature adult content than ever before. This is an especially alarming concern, considering the dire and lasting consequences that premature sexualisation in adolescents and prepubescent children can have on their psychosocial and sexual development.

PORNOGRAPHY ADDICTION AFFECTS BOTH MEN AND WOMEN

Men of any age and background can become addicted to pornography – addiction is also three times more likely to happen to men, compared to women. This is believed to be because the male system of sexual arousal is predominantly visually-oriented. Thus, addiction to pornography is commonly seen as strictly a ‘male issue’.

However, women are not immune to the ills of pornography addiction. In fact, the number of women suffering from this addiction is steadily increasing. This may be the result of a variety of factors including: society’s de-stigmatisation of sexuality – particularly female sexuality; the wider acceptance of pornography as a cultural product, rather than a shameful ‘dirty secret’; ever-increasing sexualisation within the media; as well as the anonymity and permissive nature of the internet.

PORNOGRAPHY DEPENDENCY

Due to the nature of addiction, an addict’s tolerance is routinely set and reset as they seek to push past the ever-widening threshold of gratification – this causes a dependency to rapidly develop through chasing a stronger ‘high’. In terms of pornography, this dependency is based on fleeting yet intense physical gratification – sensual rewards often relating to senses of possessing and objectifying – obtained from watching porn. Common signs of pornography addiction include a development of increased tolerance to pornographic material and a desensitisation over time to sexual stimuli: for example, watching more pornography, deriving less satisfaction, and needing to increase the frequency of usage as well as the intensity of the material, in order to achieve the desired level of satisfaction and validation.

WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS

When an addict is denied pornography, a number of symptoms can surface:

• ever-present or constantly returning cravings

• compulsive and intrusive sexual thoughts and desires

• feeling a lack of control or agency with regards to one’s actions

• failure to permanently stop the maladaptive or unwanted behaviours, despite serious attempts to do so

• Anxiety and mood swings before and after emulating pornographic scenarios

• Regrets and shame after acting out the aforementioned scenarios

• Lengthy recovery periods after masturbating or emulating pornographic scenes

• Mixed volatile feelings of self-justification, low self-esteem, and anger

• Interrupted sleep patterns, difficulties concentrating, general physical malaise, illness, or gnawing discomfort

• Increased difficulty with developing and maintaining intimacy, desire, and affection in relationships. Research conducted in 2014 by the Max Plank Institute in Germany found that some men may even develop Pornography Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED).

WHY CAN'T I STOP MYSELF?

Individuals who develop addictions, such as those addicted to pornography and sexual intercourse, undergo significant neurological changes – sensory stimuli physically alters the brain’s functioning and chemical output. A 2011 study conducted by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) confirmed that addiction is primarily a chronic disease affecting the brain, influencing reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry centres.

This signals a clear shift in focus from past conceptualisations of addiction as a choice – rather than offering much-needed understanding and rehabilitation, this view often contributed to stigmatisation and relapse. The ASAM research study also typifies addiction as a neurological disorder, highlighting the fact that clinical treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy are necessary steps that need to be taken in order to ensure sustainable, long-term recovery from this crippling addiction.

EXPERT COUNSELLING TO COMBAT PORNOGRAPHY ADDICTION

Sex Addiction Australia offers discreet and professional inter-personal, relationship, and marriage counselling services. Contact our Sydney office and speak to our sex therapist Heide on (+61) 02 9380 4486 or email info@sexaddictionaustralia.com.au to book a confidential face-to-face appointment or online consultation.

You’re not alone – Sex Addiction Australia can work with you to reclaim your life and loved ones. We’re here to help.



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

TREATING SEX ADDICTION EFFECTIVELY


Psychology has made great inroads towards the treatment of sex addiction over the last few years and what was previously seen as an untreatable addiction, now has specialist care and treatment plans available.

In the past, society saw sex addiction as a moral issue, one that showed a person’s failure in willpower towards their libido and desires. But as research became more available, it became apparent sexual addiction disorder is not gender-specific, and can occur in men and women from all types of socio-economic backgrounds.

When untreated sex addiction is defined by the inability to control sexual impulses, escalations of sexual acts, thoughts, and cravings, and by the addict's inability to curb their behaviour, despite them knowing that negative affect their addiction is having on those around them.
Initially, treatment for sex addiction usually focuses on two main issues and then deals with the individual’s personal history.

The first step is to often move you away from the potentially harmful sexual behavior, just like an alcoholic should be moved away from alcohol, or the same way drug addicts need to be separated from drugs.

The second and sometimes, most difficult issue for many addicts, is facing the damage done and the guilt, shame and depression that goes with their compulsion. It can take time to learn to trust your therapist to be able to work through these emotions. In some cases of sexual addiction, other psychiatric disorders may underlay. A dual treatment approach is recommended in such circumstances, and can include treatments with specific prescription medication to alleviate symptoms of mood disorders, anxiety and depression, and a specialist sex addiction counselling and psychotherapy program involving trauma treatment, healing the past, short term and long-term relapse prevention plans, and developing relationship and connection skills, and healthy boundaries to intimacy and sexuality.

TRADITIONAL TREATMENT METHODS FOR SEX ADDICTS INCLUDE OPTIONS, SUCH AS

12-Step Program
Twelve-step programs, such as Sex Addicts Anonymous, uses principles like in other addiction programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Sex Addicts Anonymous focuses on abstinence, from destructive sexual behavior that can put you and others in danger. There is a focus on God in this treatment but you can replace God with whatever higher power you may believe in.

Cognitive-Behavior Therapy
This is a type of therapy that looks at what triggers and reinforces your behaviour around sexual addiction, and helps you to seek other ways stopping the process or train of thought that leads you to action. By teaching addicts to stop sexual thoughts by thinking about something else; and substituting sexual behavior with some other behavior, such as exercising or working out; it can prevent relapse of sexually addictive behaviour.

Group Therapy
Group therapy usually consists of a trained professional working with a group of between six and ten patients, all of whom have the same addiction. Sharing your experiences, successes and worries with the group can help you see you’re not alone

RESEARCH BASED TREATMENT METHODS USED AT SEX ADDICTION AUSTRALIA

Sex Addiction Australia chooses a clinical approach to treating sexual compulsive behaviours based on findings of modern international brain research. We combine aspects of neuroscience with sex addiction therapy, trauma counselling, sexual health counselling,  sex therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, and selected forms of psychotherapy. We provide intensive relapse prevention plans that are adapted to our clients personal circumstances. Furthermore, we offer caring counselling for spouses of sex addicts to overcome their, often extreme, emotional pain and Sex Addiction Induced Trauma or SAI-T, and healing for couples though sex addiction focused relationship and marriage counselling; all conducted in our friendly outpatient private practise setting as intensive one-on-one sessions, without disrupting normal life unnecessarily.

Interpersonal Therapy
Sex addicts can often have a traumatic early childhood history, leading into their teen years and young adulthood, which may have influenced their sexual addiction development. Specialist sex addiction counselling, including trauma counselling, is helpful in alleviating emotional pain and increasing self control and self awareness, and in treating any mood disorders and effects of past trauma.

Medication
In some cases of sexual addiction disorder, counsel from a psychiatrist and treatment medication may be considered. Some people may develop addiction disorders due to other underlying and unrecognised psychiatric problems. Sex Addiction Australia recommends a dual treatment approach in some circumstances.

There has been much research into antidepressants and their effect in treating sexual addiction. Not only does it help mood disorders, which are common among sex addicts, they can help reduce sexual obsessions and thoughts. And there are modern therapies, which are a mixture of proven counselling techniques, sex therapies and adapting to the specific needs of the recovering sex addict.

It is important to remember that throughout any treatment process, the goal is to be able to live a normal life, with a normal sex life. Clients develop the tools needed to understand their compulsion and triggers for acting out, and to set healthy boundaries, working toward genuine self-esteem and stable intimacy with their partner.



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

PARTNERS OF SEX ADDICTS HELP


SEX ADDICTION INDUCED TRAUMA 

Sex Addiction Induced Trauma or SAI-T, is a specific type of psychological trauma that results from the direct impact of having a sex addicted partner and has lasting effects on their mental health, physical well-being.

Sex addiction-induced trauma is particularly acute around discoveries (finding out about sexual acting out, deception and relational violations), disclosures (being told about sexual acting out, deception and relational violations) and around the continued traumatic incidents that result from the presence of sexual addiction in an intimate relationship and family system. 

Partners often present with a set of symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), including re-experiencing of the trauma, social and emotional isolation, constant triggering and reactivity of old issues, significant anxiety, hyper-vigilance, dissociative symptoms, and sexual trauma symptoms.

When someone learns that their partner is a sex addict, it causes extreme distress. The trust between the couple is broken and the partner often wonders if they can possibly have a future.

The shame and embarrassment in the couples might be something so significant that they can’t confront the damage that has been done to their relationship.

In the sex addict, feelings anxiety, guilt, isolation and loneliness can occur, often all at once, and fear and panic can arise, about the state of their health, since they may have exposed themselves and their partner to sexually transmitted diseases.

Naturally, this has a detrimental effect on the relationship, since the emotional and physical trust has been damaged.

The communication between the couple is damaged once the sex addiction is disclosed, and the world which the partner once knew has been blown part, to the point their relationship may not feel real anymore.

The disclosure can also cause a variety of physical reactions triggering of eating disorders, alcohol binging, depression, weight loss or weight gain, vomiting, shaking, hair loss (sometimes extreme), defecation, insomnia and sleep disturbance, psycho-emotional dissociation, crying episodes, physical expressions of rage, hyper-vigilance, muscular constrictions, stomach sickness, aversion to physical or sexual touch and many more.

There is also the actual practicalities that the disclose may affect, such as partner’s moving out of the shared house, or children being involved and the partner wishing to protect them. In some cases, the sex-addicted party may leave the home, leaving the partner to have to hold down the fort, and thus become more stressed from the pressure.

Ongoing anxiety and the overwhelming need to check on your partner can also occur, with it often becoming hyper vigilant in trying to ‘catch your partner out,’ again. This is a form of trauma where the mind continually revisit the disclosure and you relive it over and over, as you’re waiting to find out about the disclosure again.

Being continually lied to, and being told you’re paranoid, or the problem with you is called ‘gaslighting’. It is a process in which the addict intentionally manipulates a partner’s reality in order to protect reality and the truth from becoming known or discovered by the partner.  This is a form of psychological manipulation and can slowly erode the confidence and intuition in a partner of a sex addict.

It is important for the partner of a sex addict who may be suffering from SAI-T, to recognise that they are important and deserve to get help to work through any physical and psychological impacts by the consequences of the sex addiction and find ways to help yourself through this difficult time.
Treatments include one-on-one therapy, and group therapy, with your partner, to help them and yourself understand the trauma and how to best move forward.