The National Council on Sexual Addiction Compulsivity estimates that 6%-8% of Americans are sex addicts, which is 18 million – 24 million people.
But what is addiction exactly, and how can we recognize the symptoms?
Sex addiction, drug addiction, or substance use disorders, all include compulsive maladaptive behavior despite its negative consequences. According to one study, the following percentages of men say they view pornography at least several times a week:
– 18-30-year-olds, 63%
– 31-49-year-olds, 38%
– 50-68-year-olds, 25%
Note: The amount of time or frequency of the behavior is not necessary for the presence of addiction. The defining feature is the inability to resist acting out when triggered. The following are ways you can recognize addiction in loved ones before it takes over. While each individual is unique and may not display all of the following symptoms these are the most prominent symptoms.
1. Physical Dependence
Over time, individuals build up a tolerance to porn use, compulsive masturbation, the hiring of escorts, anonymous and/or casual sexual hookups, a pattern of minor sexual offenses such as voyeurism, exhibitionism, frotteurism, and must do more of it to feel the same effects. Changes in physiology (withdrawal) can make them feel bad and, when it comes to functioning “normally,” it can be almost impossible without engaging in their addictive behavior.
2. Neglecting Responsibilities
Choosing sexual activities over meeting personal obligations and responsibilities is one of the biggest signs of addiction. Being late in picking up a child from school because the individual is viewing porn, or calling in sick to work to stay home and watch porn, are classic signs the addiction is taking precedence over adult obligations.
Many sexual addicts withdraw and isolate themselves in an attempt to hide their addiction from friends and family. Isolation is also a result of depression, anxiety, and paranoia.
4. Poor Judgement
Addiction causes people to partake in risky behavior. Addicts may begin lying, stealing, engaging in unsafe sex, and even selling drugs. These behaviors are unsafe for their physical and mental wellbeing, and may even land them in jail.
Many addicts may not recognize they are exhibiting these telltale signs. In these instances, friends and family may need to encourage them in getting the help they desperately need. If you feel that you or a loved one is currently addicted to sex, drugs or alcohol and interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.