The Misunderstanding by Dr. Jermaine Allen
What is an Addiction?
Addictions and disorders come in all forms and stages from treatable to untreatable, to curable and of course incurable. These addictions seem very odd to the masses of people because most do not or are not familiar with its characteristics, and in this case makes the condition seem abnormal. Many people have been diagnosed with addictions and by the way two of my favorite famous people for their craft have a very similar addiction. Those two gentlemen are Eric Bennet and Tiger Woods. We all know of them for being exceptionally talented in their own fields but these two men share something that the world has scrutinized them for and that is being “sex addicts”. During this brief passage I plan to show that these men may in fact have some behavior problems (as we all do) but also to show that what they have been labeled to suffer from is actually not an addiction.
Truth of the Matter
According to (Davis, 2008) the DSM does not classify sex as an addiction because it is not a substance. For example an alcoholic is addicted to liquor, a drug addict is addicted to specific drugs these things are actual substances and merely sex is not a substance. Often times people label sex addiction as a “disorder” when actually a true disorder has specific traits such as the person experiences psychological dysfunction, distress, emotional dysfunction and or impairment. A clear factor why sex cannot be considered an addiction is because sex has no normality. By that I mean people may say that engaging in sexual activity 10 times a day is an addition but for the people who are actually participating this is normal because this is what they are accustomed to. I think the only reason that a person may say that another person is a sex addict is because they are not used to engaging in sexual activity as much. According to (Green, 2013) there was a study conducted in which 39 men and 13 women who claim to have sexual addictions had their brain activity measured through an EEG to measure the activity of brain neurons. They were shown a number of things related to sexual activity. Scientist compared those results to another study in which they measured the brain activity of individuals having an addiction to drugs. Results showed that there were more activity in those addicted to drugs when shown pictures of drug paraphernalia than no or little brain activity of those suggesting that they were sex addicts. The scientist concluded that people who claim to be sex addicts in actuality only have “high sex drives” than those of normal or regular individuals. In my professional opinion I believe that daily sexual thoughts or equivalent to a compulsive disorder because it takes compulsiveness and control over their sexual impulses. According to (Szalavitz, 2013) some compulsive behavior may have roots in how the brain interprets rewarding or satisfying behaviors.
The Root of It All
When it comes to what may cause a person to be hyper sexual there are a few things that have surfaces through the years. One thing that has been contributed to it is Biochemical imbalances. In most compulsive behaviors there has been a link associated with imbalances of specific chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Certain neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine assist with mood regulation and deal with how our bodies experience pleasure. In a hypersexual person they experience an intense euphoria during sexual activity that may be caused by high chemical levels. The second suspected contribution of hypersexual disorders may be hormones and or genetics. Hormones are also known as androgens. These androgens may affect a person’s addiction to sex because hormones are sometimes used in the treatment of so called sex addicts. It is shown that lowered testosterone production may aide in the containment of sexual obsessions that often turn into addictions. Lastly abuse during the early stages of childhood in addition to family dysfunction may lead to hypersexual disorders. Research has shown that individuals with an addiction to sex have had a history of being abused during childhood, not saying that everyone who claims that they are sex addicts but quite a few of them. A dysfunction family or history of substance abuse and addiction is all too common in sex addicts. These unstable family environments involve parents that are emotionally unavailable and emotionally detached. If a child is born and raised in a household where there is not a correct learning structure that child will take and mentally attach to anything they can in hopes that it is the correct information. Hypersexual disorders seem to be very prevalent in the types of environments because there is nothing else positive to inhibit. In this case the children which are the most vulnerable people in this situation need to be monitored so that they do not relive and gather these traits.
Although sex addiction is a misunderstood and can be embarrassing there are ways to maintain a positive self-image even with its compulsive nature. There are a number of treatment programs available in the United States including ones in the Tulane University’s program in New Orleans and the Menninger Clinic’s program in Topeka, Kan. These specific programs approach sex addiction with the same strategic approach and urgency of anything that is related to a compulsive disorder. They have been proven effective in treating chemical dependency in addition many chemical dependency programs offer a sexual addiction program or some sort of counterpart.
Davis, L. J (2008). Sex Addiction? An Obsession? A Disease? Is sex addiction really an addiction? Sussex Publishers, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/obsessively-yours/200811/sex-addiction-obsession-disease
Green, T (2013). Is Sexual Addiction Real? Scans Of Sex Addicts' Brains Make Researchers Question The Disorder. IBT Media Inc. Retrieved from http://www.ibtimes.com/sexual-addiction-real-scans-sex-addicts-brains-make-researchers-question-disorder-1359561
Szalavitz, M (2013). My Name Is John and I Am a Sex Addict. (Or Maybe Not). Time Inc. Retrieved from http://healthland.time.com/2013/07/23/my-name-is-john-and-i-am-a-sex-addict-or-maybe-not/