As sex addiction specialists and therapists, we are aware of the growing concern about the rising levels of sexual addiction across Ireland.
For sufferers of sex, porn and love addiction – this is a serious problem. It is a clinical phenomenon, which is highly prevalent around the country, contrary to disbelief.
“It was hell,” says Joe, who is 10 years in recovery. John adds: “Every night I came home guilty and every morning I woke up miserable.” .
Whilst there are few official statistics about its prevalence in Ireland, our admissions team come across this behavioural addiction weekly from those voluntarily seeking help. See treating sex addiction.
Sex addiction is nothing to be ashamed about. At Smarmore Castle we do not judge and know that an addiction is an addiction. We are not concerned about the type, but simply about the fact and the underlying history that has contributed to this.
If you are struggling with sex and love addiction alongside drug and alcohol abuse, get in touch now and change your life for the better. Reach out today.
An Irish problem?
The Irish Times interviewed Cormac Macnamara, a local GP in Waterford to discuss how sex addictions are not taken seriously enough and how the country’s beliefs might be possibly contributing to the problem.
“In fact, considering sexuality has been so repressed in this country, it is likely to be worse here rather than better… Very few people in this country, at least those over a certain age, have had an unhealthy sexual upbringing or education. Most families didn’t talk about sexuality, which doesn’t help them to have healthy sexual relationships.”
Psychologist Eoin Stephens further commented that more and more people are likely to emerge with compulsive behaviours around sexuality: “compulsive around masturbation, fantasy, voyeurism or prostitution. Even romantic novels can become an obsession, which may not seem very serious at one level, but it can take over your life.”
Any type of addiction that produces negative consequences needs to be taken seriously.
The first step to recovery
Free sex addiction assessment
- 30-minute evaluation with an admissions specialist
- Help and advice regarding funding and ways to access treatment immediately
- Therapy options and information about your illness
- Options of Zoom or telephone
- Review by a clinical psychiatrist who can be available for a follow-up call
Levels of sex addiction
What is not so commonly known is that there are different levels of sexual addiction, which can range from activities that do not involve another person like fantasies or pornography to major crimes such as exhibitionism, rape or other violence.
Smarmore Castle has experience in working with people whose lives have been taken over by their addiction, whether it’s to a substance like alcohol or drugs, or a behaviour.
And in our experience, those with a sex addiction often have other dependencies, especially around substance abuse.
How to tell if you or someone you love is addicted to sex?
- Obsessivesexual thoughts, fantasies, feelings and compulsions
- Spending large sums on sex lines, internet porn sites, prostitutes and movies
- Embarking on disastrous relationships
- Unable to relate to the opposite sex in a healthy way
- More serious addictions can lead to stalking, abuse, incest and rape
Addiction is power and control
Addictions are the escape routes that are often used to avoid hurt, rejection, emptiness, loneliness and the pain of living. In the case of a sexual addiction, orgasm provides temporary relief from pain.
We’ve worked with numerous people who are suffering from a substance and behavioural addiction, and if there’s one thing we know it’s that someone addicted to sex shares the same characteristics as other categorised addictions.
Those who have developed an obsessive-compulsive relationship to a mood-altering activity or substance often experience negative consequences as a result, but despite these repercussions, the ‘yets’, they cannot stop!
The fact that sex is not an illegal street drug like heroin or alcohol makes little difference.
Addiction to sex is the same as a need for a high
Sex is an activity that changes the body’s neurochemical and hormonal system, which released feel-good chemicals (serotonin and adrenaline) in a similar way to drugs. It’s psychological.
Someone addicted to sex, in the same way that heroin users crave the drug, will obsess over the activity, plan it, remember it and fantasise about it.
The nature of addiction is to keep repeating the behaviour. It is a chronic, relapsing disorder characterised by compulsive acting out.
Therefore, sex-addicted patients often take risks, which can put expose them to sexually transmitted diseases or spending large amounts of money.
However, the facts remain the same, even if you are an “addict” it will not absolve offensive behaviour in the eyes of the law, and the implications for sexual addiction are real.
When addiction is costing you more than money
The one thing you need to be aware of is that sexual addiction is treatable, with the early stages of treatment focusing on how to help patients transform their behaviours. Whereas, the longer-term goal and work focuses on education about how to have healthy, intimate sexual relationships.
There are no sex clinics in Ireland. However, at Smarmore we treat all behavioural addictions alongside substance abuse and have dedicated behavioural therapists who use evidence-based treatments to help you change patterns in your behaviour. On top of this, we also work on relapse prevention tools to help you manage triggers in daily life.
Whilst we understand that for many men and women, sexual addiction might be shaming to them, or threaten their integrity and professional careers, here at Smarmore we make no judgements.
This is a compulsion, and feeling shame may cause you to hide it and avoid seeking help, which is self-defeating. It is something you simply cannot overcome on your own and we can help you change that.
If you are concerned that a family member or partner may be a person addicted to sex please click here.
Make the right decision for you and talk to us about rehab today. Call +353 41 214 5111.
There is an establishment in Ireland, which has formed over the past decade called Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, which is an Augustine fellowship. Remember you are not alone – find a meeting.