Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sexual Addiction Defined

I want to write specifically on sexual addiction and provide some clarity and insight on how and why people become addicted to pornography and/or other sexual behaviors.

Many people believe that sexual behaviors are purely behavior based.  They feel that since a person is physically acting out by clicking images on a screen that by a simple choice reversal, they can stop.  This may be true in the beginning stages but after a time the persons brain chemistry changes and they become robbed of the ability to choose.

OK let me back up a bit.  There is a drug in the brain called dopamine. It's a little more complicated than just dopamine - but for the purposes of keeping things clear and understandable I'm just going to keep it at dopamine.  Dopamine is a pleasure drug.  It is the pleasure drug.  Most people think that when someone shoots heroin or takes a drink of alcohol that it is the actual substance that brings the euphoria.  Not true.  The heroin and alcohol actually increase the levels of dopamine in the brain.  It is the elevated levels of dopamine that induce the euphoria.  Once the brain gets that hit of intense euphoria that the dopamine provides it says "wow, I like that!  I want more!"  The brain then begins obsessing about the avenue in which it got that hit.  This process is more commonly known as 'craving.' 

Such is the same with sexual addiction.  Sexual activity brings euphoria, that euphoria comes from physical hits of dopamine to the brain.  All branches of sexual addiction cause massive amounts of dopamine to flood the brain.  The brain then goes into overload and as with any other addictive drug says "wow, I like that!  I want more!" 

It is difficult after that first hit to say no again.  Yes, we may go through a period where we have regrets for that first hit.  We may promise ourselves and God that we'll never do it again, and some of us may even accomplish that.  But for a good portion of us we go back because even through that period of regret we are still thinking about that hit; about how good it felt.  We begin to justify as we begin to entertain thoughts in our head; fantasies about how good it felt, how when we used we forgot our problems.  Some of these might sound something like:  

It's OK to do it, no one will know 
You can hide it 
One more time won't kill you 
It doesn't cost that much
You can always repent later 
It feels so good and you deserve to feel good
The justifications and rationalizations are endless...

We choose to believe these thoughts, so we do it, we fall and we act out.  And thus begins what is known as the Addiction Cycle:




Addiction is a brain disease.  It is characterized by craving, seeking and can persist even in the face of devastating life consequences.  Addiction is the result of brain changes that stem from prolonged use--including but not limited to shrinking the frontal lobe, the judgment center of the brain.  In essence, those in active addiction have been robbed of the ability to make rational choices.  They can no longer identify consequences for using because thoughts of using consume their minds.

But there is hope...

There are many different programs available today for those struggling with sexual addiction, to help them break the chains of the addictive cycle.  There is even support available for loved ones of those who are struggling.  Some of these programs include individual, couples or group therapies, 12-Step groups, retreats and even online communities. 

The (Mormon) church has also begun to recognize addiction as one of Satan's most powerful tools and has countered that attack by implementing and growing the LDS Addiction Recovery Program.  I can personally bear testimony of this program.  This program is fashioned after the AA Tradition in the 12-Steps but has the Savior as it's focus.  The LDS ARP 12-steps are a guide to learning how to utilize the Atonement and find our worth.  The program also offers support groups in many cities.  These support groups have been key to my recovery for there I find strength in unity.

It is important to remember that just as addiction is a progressive disease so is recovery a progressive solution.  There will be triggers, temptations and slips a long the way.  Use them.  Such opposition are opportunities to turn to the Savior and surrender to Him again; to renew our faith in Him again and to say to Him again "I love you, I trust you, I'll give it to you."



7 comments:

  1. Sidreis, this is a great post. Your blog is fabulous. It is personal and informative. You offer real insight while also including some important helpful facts. I see you as a courageous pioneer blazing a safe trail for others. I will keep checking in and look forward to learning more. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's nice to come back and read this....especially today. I met with my Bishop today and then all of the sudden began doubting everything--am I really addicted? Am I just blowing smoke? What does it mean to be addicted anyway? HOW DID I GET WHERE I AM TODAY? I'M NOT ADDICTED TO JACK SQUAT!! Maybe I'm looking at the situation from addict eyes at this moment and I'm just not seeing things clearly right now--or I'm just in denail. Anyway...I don't know what I am writing here, 'cept I'm glad you wrote this post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is so essential post. This information helps them who are new bloggers. Thanks for helpful post for us.
    opinion

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your post will be rather good, and I'm sure some will find it interesting because it's about a topic that's as widely discussed as others. Some may even find it useful.nice one so much for your post.
    mortgage advisor

    ReplyDelete
  5. There are also several reasons for this. Here in this article, we have shared personal view of a person once who was highly depressed with his physical intimacy. The story is like
    enlast cream price

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for sharing a moment with me:-)

Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"