a person on the ground holds their head on their knees as they struggle with an addiction to love

How Addiction to Love or Sex is Similar to Addiction to Drugs

An addiction to love sounds good, right? After all, love and physical intimacy provide some of the most satisfying experiences in life. But addiction to love or sex can be destructive in ways similar to other types of addiction, reports sex therapist Alexandra Katehakis in PsychCentral.

Recovery Ranch Tennessee can help treat process addictions, like love and sex addiction, using evidence-based therapies. Our love addiction treatment program accounts for each person’s identity, background, and health to ensure everyone can progress in beating their addiction. Love addiction is real; addiction therapy involving talk, adventure, and group therapy can provide tremendous relief. Get started today by calling 1.844.876.7680 and speaking to one of our compassionate recovery specialists.

Love and Sex Addiction: A Cycle of Extremes

Addiction to love and sex is driven by a strong need to find intimacy and connection with others. At the same time, people struggling with these addictions are profoundly worried about actually becoming close to another person. The inner contradictions are played out relationally as the person becomes trapped in cycles of quick and intense relationship pleasure followed by devastating periods of emptiness and self-reproach.

Individuals with these addictions rarely live in the middle ground, says Katehakis. Their life is a series of mountaintops and valley events. Life is either thrilling because of a flood of romance-induced chemical reactions at the initial stages of a relationship, or it is desolate because, without fresh passion, life feels like a void.

Sex and Love Addiction Use Endorphins as a Drug

The person addicted to sex or love is addicted to the endorphins that intimate connections can stimulate. Those first flutterings of the heart and heightened excitement of discovery are like a drug. Without those rushing endorphins, the person experiences an absence like withdrawal. This is why the addict is attached to the experience of romance rather than the person to whom they’re romantically connected. The love or sex addict who acts out while married is not actually in love with someone other than their spouse; they are looking to satisfy a craving for the thrill. As soon as the relationship enters a less exciting phase, the addict becomes bored, walks away, and begins looking for a new partner.

Addiction to Sex and Love Numbs Pain with Pleasure

Sometimes this kind of addiction is born out of early trauma or overwhelming experience of pain in life. The person finds that they can numb out what feels intolerable by drowning that hurt in a flood of pleasurable romantic emotions.

The irony is that even while they are using others to create intense experiences of pleasure, deep feelings of self-loathing and shame lie beneath. More romantic excitement is needed to silence the inner voice of condemnation. Eventually, the cycle of highs and lows becomes chaotic, and other areas of life are disrupted. Careers are harmed. Marriages are harmed. Educational pursuits are derailed. At this point, the person struggling with addiction may finally be ready to admit their problem and seek help.

Finding Effective Treatment for Love and Sex Addiction

If you or someone you know may be addicted to love or sex, it is essential to seek professional help. These problems are not easily overcome without treatment, but there is hope. Many people have found lasting recovery through individual and group therapy, 12-step programs, and other evidence-based treatments.

The first step is reaching out for help. Our admissions counselors are available 24/7 to speak with you about treatment options. Don’t wait to get the help you need to overcome your addiction to love and sex and build a healthier, happier life. Contact us by calling 1.844.876.7680 to get started at Recovery Ranch Tennessee today.

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