Sex Addiction Causes

Sex Addiction Causes

Sex Addiction Causes

There’s considerable controversy surrounding the diagnosis of “sex addiction.” Although it’s been excluded from the fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-5), it’s still discussed and written about in psychology and counseling circles. Also, sex addiction can be diagnosed according to the DSM-5 as “other specified sexual dysfunction.” What causes sex addiction? Are there any causes of sex addiction that people should be aware of? Keep reading to learn what our luxury rehab in Florida found.


Why Is Sex Addictive?

Also known as compulsive sexual behavior or hypersexuality disorder, sex addiction refers to the inability to control your sexual thoughts, urges, and impulses. While sexual impulses are natural, sex addiction specifically refers to excessive sexual behaviors that can significantly and negatively impact a person’s life. Sex is addictive because it stimulates the reward center of the brain, similar to drugs and alcohol. Although this disorder isn’t listed as a diagnosable condition in the DSM-5, research still indicates that sexual behavior can develop, similar to a substance use disorder.


A sex addict may have a compulsive need to be sexually stimulated. An addict may act on this need in a variety of ways, including masturbation, cybersex, having multiple sexual partners, use of pornography, and paying for sex. Often, sex addiction heavily impacts a person’s ability to maintain healthy and romantic relationships. Additionally, no one is immune to this condition, which is evident in the many celebrity sex addicts that have shared their struggles with symptoms.


What Causes Sex Addiction?

Although sex addiction causes are unclear, they may include:


  • Chemical imbalance in the brain: Certain chemicals called neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, help regulate mood and emotions. Oftentimes, people with low neurotransmitter levels or chemical imbalances suffer from depression and other mood disorders. In an attempt to cope with their symptoms, they may turn to addictive behaviors, like compulsive sexual behavior, to make themselves feel better.
  • Changes in brain pathways: Compulsive sexual behavior is an addiction that, over time, can cause certain changes in the brain’s neural circuits, especially in the reward or reinforcement centers of the brain. Like other types of addictions, a person addicted to sex may develop a tolerance to certain stimuli, requiring more intensive sexual content and stimulation to gain satisfaction or relief.
  • Other conditions that affect the brain: Certain diseases, like epilepsy and dementia, may damage certain areas of the brain that affect sexual behavior and arousal. Additionally, certain types of treatments for Parkinson’s disease involving dopamine agonist medications may also contribute to sex addiction or compulsive sexual behavior.


Seaside Palm Beach offers mental health treatment as well as drug addiction treatment to help people who may be suffering from disorders that fall into these categories recover.


Risk Factors of Sex Addiction

Sex addiction can occur in both men and women, though it’s more common in men. It can also affect anyone regardless of their sexual orientation. Certain factors can also increase the risk of compulsive sexual behavior, including:


  • Ease of access to sexual content
  • Privacy
  • Mental illness such as depression, anxiety, or gambling addiction
  • Alcohol or drug problems
  • Family conflicts or family history of sex addiction
  • A history of physical or sexual abuse


Untreated sex addiction can cause feelings of guilt and shame, low self-esteem, mental illness, broken relationships, loss of career, financial debt, increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (HIV or hepatitis), substance abuse, and more.


No matter what it’s called or the exact nature of the behavior, this disorder can negatively impact your life in a number of ways. However, with treatment and self-help, you can overcome and learn to manage compulsive sexual behavior. If you’re struggling with hypersexuality, we offer sex addiction treatment at Seaside Palm Beach in addition to substance abuse treatment that can help. Call us at 561-677-9374 to learn more.



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