Raising Children with Personality Disorders

Nothing hurts more to parents than knowing that their child is having a difficult time, especially if their kids suffer from mental issues. So, for parents raising children with personality disorders, it’s like a never-ending maze scavenging for possible ways to cope. You always ask yourself if you are raising your child right, or even whether or not the treatment you’re providing for them is enough. But, if disorders are left untreated, it will haunt children as they move on to adulthood.

Understanding Personality Disorders

Source: upliftconnect.com

According to Nicole Martinez, Psy.D. “A personality disorder is a deeply ingrained and maladaptive pattern of behavior of a specified kind causing long-term difficulties in personal relationships or in functioning in society” Personality disorders is a type of behavioral disorder characterized by the behavior and feeling that differs significantly from an average person. People diagnosed with this often have trouble with interacting with others and responding well to certain situations and challenges.  If you suspect your child or a close relative of suffering this disorder, here are some of the symptoms to watch out for:

 

  • Trust issues
  • Having beliefs or thoughts that people are trying to harm him/her
  • Holds extreme grudges
  • Lacking in emotion
  • Appears cold and/or indifferent
  • Shows excessive concern over self-image
  • Prefers to be alone and alienates others
  • Has a peculiar way of dressing, thinking, or speaking
  • Persistently lies or covers up the truth
  • Has an impulsive behavior
  • Has suicidal tendencies
  • Has an extreme fear of abandonment

 

For psychiatrists, they have a system in diagnosing the different types of personality disorders. The 10 types are grouped into three categories:

  • Suspicious – paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal, antisocial
  • Emotional and impulsive – borderline, histrionic, narcissistic
  • Anxious – avoidant, dependent, obsessive compulsive

When it comes to the actual causes of personality disorders, researchers have not successfully found any leads but they have singled out possible factors that build up to the development of these such as genetics, environment, family, and relationships (peers, relatives, etc.). 

Tips to Remember in Raising a Child with a Personality Disorder

Source: healthista.com

“The diagnosis of “borderline personality disorder” carries profound stigma for many people. Even some mental health professionals use the term pejoratively, which is not difficult considering that the diagnosis itself implies that someone’s personality is flawed.”  Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW  explained. Going back to what was previously mentioned, parents at the start often scratch their heads on what to do when dealing with a child who has a personality disorder. Here are a few tips or guides to take note of:

 

  1. Go slowly

 

Remember that your child will always have difficulty accepting or taking in change. The promise of “progress” often raises fears of failure or abandonment. This is because once children proceed to create progress and start to cope well, they begin to think that their independence will cause the people who have supported them to leave, concluding that their job is done. Therefore, continuous help and a good amount of attention is always needed. And, to understand that it is very difficult to achieve real progress. Set attainable and realistic goals for them. Do not state things like, “You’ve changed so well,” but instead say something such as “I’m happy you worked hard but this all might be difficult for you, so take your time.”

 

2. Family environment is important

 

“Mental health issues can be caused by a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors, and can have a minor or major impact on a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors.”  Christina L. Gmyr, LMHC, NCC emphasizes. If a child wakes up to a noisy and horrific house and neighborhood, it adds on to their traumatic experiences and thoughts. Family conflicts should be toned down or diminished at all costs, the hostility that bounces from this could affect your child negatively. Fear of abandonment is also something to watch out for. If you or a close relative of your child is absent, it might cause disturbed and painful feelings within your child, which could influence him/her to dissociate those thoughts. 

 

3. Stay calm but always pay attention

 

There’s no use to panicking if your child begins to have episodes. These are all a part of your reality as well as theirs, which is difficult to avoid. If they begin to criticize you or pour their anger out on you, it is natural to be hurt or even feel enraged, but refrain from fighting. Remain rational in order to create alternative solutions, instead of defending yourself and adding more fuel to the fire. Remember that he/she is your child and it is best to just listen.

 

4. Address problems together

 

When your child is up against a challenge, especially when it’s with themselves, it is a parent’s instinct to step in and help. But, this might result to resentment and become an unwanted intrusion. It is best to ask whether or not your child wants actual help and always include them in family discussions when solving problems. This way, all views are respected and understood. Also, aim to be consistent as a parent. Inconsistency may lead to more family conflicts, since each and every member have different opinions. Create strategies that works for everyone and especially for your child.

Possible Treatments for Personality Disorders

Source: blog.chocchildrens.org

There are many treatments that can help your child deal with his/her personality disorder, such as:

    • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Treatments include Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT)
    • Psychodynamic Therapy. Treatments include Mentalization-Based Treatment (MBT)

 

  • Schema Therapy
  • Behavioral Therapy
  • Social Skills Training
  • Prescription and Medication

 

    • This, however, only acts as an aid to make the coping process easier. And, it might cause side-effect and withdrawal symptoms if not taken properly. 

 

Facebook Groups for Support

Do you ever get the feeling that no one cares about you or your community or your needs?  This is probably not true, but you may still feel that way. If it is something that you are feeling then no one should negate your feelings about it.  Even if you feel alone or that no one understands you, there are a plethora of private groups on Facebook that you can join for support; conversation or you can just observe the interactions.

 

PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUPS

Source: actionchaos.com

If you have a Facebook account, you can search for any type of group that is available.  Many of them are private, which means you have send a request to join the group and then once you are accepted, only people within the group can see your questions or responses.  The fact that only people in the group can see your questions and responses gives it one more level of privacy.

 

If you feel that this is not enough privacy, you can open a separate Facebook account and then join the group from that account.  Maybe you could use your first and middle name. You will have to have some interaction on this new account, however, because if the admins who run the group see an account that has no friends, no interactions, etc, they may not approve your request to join.

 

TYPES OF GROUPS ON FACEBOOK

 

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS:  There are numerous groups when you search this particular topic.  You can go to their request page and it will tell a little about how the group functions or who may want to join the group.  Look at several until you find one that you feel a connection to. When you join a group and your request is confirmed, you can be an observer first.  Look at the posts and see what the vibe of the group is. If you don’t feel that it is the place for you, you can always leave the group and join another.  That is true for any Facebook group.

 

“Your environment, both your social and natural surroundings, can greatly impact how you feel.” –Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC

Source: tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com

INTROVERTS:  Another topic that has a ton of groups in all shapes and sizes.  If you are an introvert, this would probably be the PERFECT place for you.  You can be an observer or participant, you can share your anxieties with other who know exactly what you are feeling, you can write instead of speak.  It is a great place to feel validated and supported and know that there are people who care.

 

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES:  This search will give both medical and behavioral health groups that are centered on alternative therapies.  You can go through, read the bios and see what group feels like the one for you. If alternative therapies are something you strongly believe in, you will definitely find like-minded people in these groups.

 

RECOVERY/SOBRIETY:  Another search that will give you a huge list of groups to choose from.  It covers most types of recovery whether it is drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, etc.  You will find a specific group that will be a support for whatever you are going through.  Since people within these groups have gone through or are going through recovery, OR have friends and/or families in recovery, they will have a level of caring and understanding that will comfort you.

 

“If your intention is to live a meaningful and healthy life, you will make decisions that support this intention, and feel good about yourself when you succeed in this purpose.” – Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D.

Source: cdn.govexec.com

 

These are just a very short list of groups that are available on Facebook.  If you need another type of group, put in the keyword you are searching for and then you can click on Groups once that keyword has been searched.  You will not find all the answers to your issues, but it is a good place to start and you will find someone who cares.

 

“You know the ones—these are the people you know you can always call, text, or email when you need to feel a connection.” David Klow, a licensed therapist

How To Find the Best Therapist for You

source: anxiety.org

You may be in the market for a new therapist. Maybe you are new to therapy or maybe you are not feeling a connection with your current therapist. Maybe you recently moved and you think, “I need a therapist near me”. Where do you even begin to find a therapist that is best for you? Read on and find out.

Help! I need to find a therapist near me.

Finding a therapist who you connect with can be a long and time-consuming journey. First, you need to decide what type of therapy you are seeking. Do you want a psychiatrist who can also prescribe medication? Are you looking for a more holistic approach? Do you feel hypnotism is part of what you need? What will your insurance cover? These are all questions you need to ask yourself first. Dr. Mitch Keil, a clinical psychologist once said, “It is a healing process that allows people to not only start feeling better but gain insight, awareness, and ultimately begin trusting their intuition and experience.”

source: telepsyonline.com

Online Resources

You may decide to look for a therapist online which may seem impersonal, but actually it may be a great place to start. If you want someone who is covered by your insurance, your health insurance website will detail this important information. Many times there are pictures and bios of the therapists on the website. You may feel a connection by reading the bio or looking at their picture, which is a good first step. Schedule an appointment or ask to speak to the therapist on the phone to see if this is a therapy connection worth pursuing. “In this day and age, it’s really tough to get a human on the phone to ask questions. So you can also use email, but remember that tone on the phone is a good indication of therapy style,” says Liz Powell, PsyD

 

Good old Google is another great resource. You may want to find a naturopathic or holistic therapist near you. Put that into the search bar and it will list the best matches that are within your area. You can then visit their websites and see if what they’re offering is something that you want to consider. Getting a good feeling by looking at the website will help you find your therapist. Again, schedule an appointment or ask to speak to the therapist on the phone to see if this is someone you’d like to work with.

 

Believe it or not, there is now online therapy. Whether it is a Facetime session or a therapy app, many people are utilizing this “therapy-when-I-need-it” option. It is reasonably priced and available at any time. The app is usually user-friendly and available wherever you can use your phone. It may seem impersonal to some, but if you lead a busy lifestyle and have a hard time scheduling an office appointment, it may be the right fit for you. Understand that “Online care is not for every patient or practitioner. Clients with more serious mental illnesses or addictions likely need more treatment than digital therapy can provide. And some clinicians may find certain telehealth modalities difficult,” says says clinical psychologist Nina Barlevy, PsyD.

Personal Referrals

Your friend or colleague may have someone who they absolutely love to connect with, but the therapist may not be a match for you. Different personalities find a connection with different types of people. So if you meet with that therapist that your friend LOVES and you don’t feel that same LOVE, don’t beat yourself up. Everyone has different feelings and if you don’t feel a connection, just move on. But if they are someone whom you feel will be helpful to you, then by all means, sign up for their services.

source: higherneeds.co.uk

Medical Referrals

Your primary care doctor is always someone you can turn to if you aren’t sure what to do next. They will have a list of local therapists that they can recommend to you. If they work together, there is almost a guarantee that your health insurance will cover the visits. Don’t limit yourself by your health insurance coverage, though. It is so important to have a genuine connection with the person who you are working with and if they do not take your health insurance or your health insurance doesn’t cover their services, ask if they have a sliding scale. Many times, they will have this alternative.

Talk Therapy for Introverts

Source: quietrev.com

Introverts are not necessarily opposed to talking to others.  They feel more comfortable with people they know and often feel safer in a controlled, familiar environment, such as a dinner party where they know everyone or a coffee date with a friend.  Talk therapy is not as hard for them as you may think. They actually can shine in a one-on-one situation.

 

WHAT IS AN INTROVERT?

 

Being shy and being an introvert is not the same thing.  Introverts are not anti-social, but social situations are energy drainers for them.  They need alone time to recharge and reenergize. You may have a friend who is an introvert and you don’t know it because they are comfortable with you and seem outgoing, funny and comfortable.  It’s when outside, non-familiar people; situations and large gatherings are in the mix that they become uncomfortable. Social situations can become a real anxiety producer for them so they may often decline invitations.  It isn’t that they don’t want to be at your function or party, it is just a drain of their energy so they carefully pick and choose where to spend that energy. “Everyone handles positive and negative stress differently. And yes, for some, positive stress can lead to a negative response to stress, depending on the situation.” Jessica Harris, LCPC, LPC said. 

Source: psychologytoday.com

Introverts don’t mind being by themselves.  They often enjoy expressing themselves through writing so they may be enjoy online chat groups, writing blogs or sending well-expressed emails.    Social media may be a huge expressive outlet for them too. Brie Shelly, MS, LMHC, RYT explains that “The rise and growing significance of social media has caused an influx of mental health concerns, such as low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. Now is the time to start paying attention to how social media is influencing your life choices and mental health.”

 

It may be hard for extroverts to understand the thinking of an introvert, but patience and support is best when communicating and interacting with them.  Forcing them into social situations where they feel discomfort is not going to help them. Letting them pick and choose the situations they feel most comfortable in is always the best option.

 

BEST TYPES OF THERAPY FOR INTROVERTS

 

*One-on-one Talk Therapy will most likely work out great for an introvert.  Since they enjoy and thrive in a one-on-one environment, this is something they should try as a first option.  Since they may not enjoy talking on the phone, making an online appointment through a primary care provider or health insurance website may be the best course of action.  Research therapists online, where they can look at websites, pictures and services may also put them at ease.  

 Source: lonerwolf.com

*Online therapy, which is becoming more popular because of its availability, is another option that an introvert would probably find success with.  Since they may be someone who enjoys communicating in writing, this type of talk may be the perfect fit. Chat rooms are another online “talk” option.  Since these groups are also in a written format, they may be a successful alternative. But note, “This kind of effort takes a fair amount of commitment and understanding of the online world.” John M. Grohol, Psy.D. expresses. 

 

*Group therapy may be an option if it is a small group.  It may be helpful to an introvert to be in a group where they work on skills for social interaction, conversation building and self-esteem so that they become more comfortable in these types of situations.  Again, forcing them to participate in one of these groups would not be helpful to them, but if they make the choice to join the group, they will gainvaluable tools to use in other social situations.

 

As with any type of therapy for any individual, introverts must feel a connection with their therapy provider and not feel like they have to stay with the first person they meet with.  Although notifying a therapist who isn’t a good match can be difficult, it is better to move on, find the right match and find a connection. They may need to meet with several providers before they find the connection, but it is well worth the time to find someone who will be the most helpful to them. 

Online Mental Health Chat Rooms

Source: mashable.com

You may be the type of person who is more comfortable communicating online than in person.  Maybe you don’t like to sit face-to-face with someone. Maybe you are better with written word than spoken word.  Maybe your schedule doesn’t have room for a therapist or group therapy appointment during traditional office hours.   Chat rooms have gotten more secure and have safeguards in place to protect the participants. If you need a depression chat room, that is one of the many types of mental health chat rooms available. Because just like Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D. used to say, “If your intention is to live a meaningful and healthy life, you will make decisions that support this intention, and feel good about yourself when you succeed in this purpose.”

 

SAFETY TIPS

 

*Never say anything in a chat room that you don’t want the public to know, including your full name, your address, your phone number, your email address, etc.

*Don’t share social media accounts.

*Don’t post or send a photo of yourself to anyone.

*Don’t open any attachments that are sent or posted.

*Don’t meet up in person on your own.

*Use only secure chat rooms.

 

FINDING THE BEST CHAT ROOM

Source: itacc.org

You can Google or research mental health chat rooms online.  There are a plethora of sites to choose from and, just like with a therapist, you need to find one that fits your needs and comfort level.  Visiting several sites first will give you a good idea of what is out there and they each may offer something a little different. Only choose one that you connect with and that you feel will give you the most support. “By building a list of people that you trust, with whom you can talk to in times of need, you allow yourself a strong sense of not being alone.” David Klow, a licensed therapist said.

 

You may even ask your primary care provider or therapist if they know of any reputable, compassionate chat rooms.  If they don’t have any references, check your health insurance website because they may very well sponsor their own health chat rooms.

 

Fortunately, many mental health chat rooms are presented by reputable companies or health care professionals and can be a safe place to discuss specific issues you may be having.  Most mental health chat rooms are broken down into very specific needs so you know going into the chat room that everyone is on the same page. If you are someone who feels uncomfortable talking about your issues face-to-face, this option may be a better alternative until you feel more comfortable communicating vulnerabilities.  

 

When going online to find a chat room, you will notice that the landing page for the various chat rooms will have a disclaimer and a code of conduct for the chat room.  You will need to click on the “yes I understand the rules and guidelines of this chat room” box. We all hope that all chat room attendees are coming from a place of support and kindness and that they are there to help and get help.  

 

EMERGENCY SITUATIONS

Source: mashable.com

“Not all people who have thoughts of suicide end up acting on those thoughts. But for those who do, generally there is deep emotional pain combined with a belief that things will never improve.” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC explained. If you feel that you may want to hurt yourself or others, DO NOT go to a chat room, but call an emergency number or a close, trustworthy friend or family member.  Also, if you feel that the chat room is not serving its purpose, consult your primary care physician or a therapist. The disclaimers on most/all of the chat rooms specify that the information in the chat rooms is not medical advice and should not be used as such.  If you are looking for a forum to get ideas or support, chat rooms are great. They should not, however, be used in place of professional mental health support.

 

Although moderators can kick out chatters who are being inappropriate, you may feel the need to report about the person, especially if they try to contact you outside the chat room, ask to meet, etc.  Cyber Tipline (www.cybertipline.com) is a place where you can make that report.

Sibling Rivalry – How To Handle Your Kids

source: theparentreport.com

Explain the Concept of Sibling Rivalry.

“I have to be better than Joey. He gets all the attention every single time. Mom only sees him and he is such a daddy’s boy. I hate him so much.”

“Penny is always the pretty one. Penny is the bright one, the good one, the kind one – Penny is everything! I heard mom praise Penny to her friends. Why can’t I be like Penny!?”

Have you ever felt this way when you were a child? When you were comparing yourself to your sibling and maybe even trying to find a way to surpass him or her? That’s what you call Sibling Rivalry. The moment a second child is born, the concept of Sibling Rivalry takes place. It is the competition between two siblings, brothers or sisters, and at times, jealousy and fights are involved.

“They are neither overcompensating in terms of taking on family responsibilities like the oldest sibling nor depending on others like the youngest,”Katie Davis, PsyD.

All families experience this type of rivalry and for some, it will dissipate. The problem stems when the rivalry is not settled early on and lingers until the siblings become adults. Therefore, the parents must find a way to resolve issues between the siblings so that when they grow up, they both learn to accept and love each other no matter what and go above their differences.

source: momtastic.com

Discuss the causes of Sibling Rivalry.

There are many causes for Sibling Rivalry and it may differ from one family to another. The most common causes, though, include jealousy and closeness in age.

For example, a five-year-old daughter was the baby of the family for 5 years until her mother becomes pregnant again. When that happens, everyone in the family including their extended relatives are so psyched of the little one. The mom gives birth and the eldest daughter loses the attention – everyone focuses on the newborn and she will feel left out. Her resentment will then be directed to the newborn and she may act out. This is one cause of Sibling Rivalry.

As for the other cause of Sibling Rivalry which is the closeness in age, studies show that siblings whose ages are not more than 2 years apart can spur so much competition. One sibling may excel in many things which then earns the praise of his or her parents. The sibling who always “loses” will feel like the underdog. Sibling Rivalry will then exist between the two.

“When it comes to birth order, there can be some differences between the children based on their position in the family,” – Dr. Jaime Kulaga, Ph.D

Reasons why there is Sibling Rivalry.

  1. Each child wants to become his own person and with that, they are competing as to what they have like talents, hobbies, interests and skills. They want to be on top and show that they are very different from their siblings.
  2. It happens when children feel that their parents are focusing more on their “star” sibling.
  3. They feel that treatment among siblings is unequal.
  4. Those who are not aware of how to positively get a parent’s attention, they cause fights.
  5. If the kids see that aggression or physical fighting between siblings is not reprimanded, they will get used to it.
  6. Family bonding is not often practiced.
  7. When parents are stressed out, the kids will feel it and can cause troubles.
  8. Parents are the role models. How they treat their kids is a mirror image. How they solve conflicts and react to fights will be copied by their children.

source: bacc.cc

What parents can do to put a stop to Sibling Rivalry.

Sibling Rivalry can be good up until a certain point. If it promotes healthy competition between siblings and can make each child reach his or her fullest potential, then, that’s good. When Sibling Rivalry is a positive notion, it can help all your children.

The problem is that not all families portray Sibling Rivalry in a good way. Most often, it brings about feelings of anger, hatred, and resentment. It can even start the “cold shoulder” and some miscommunication. As a parent, you don’t want this to happen.

Follow these tips to put an end to this Sibling Rivalry between your kids:

– No favoritism.
– No comparing your children between each other.
– Don’t label your kids.
– Praise all of them for their individuality, strengths, talents and skills.
– Facilitate a cooperation level between your children.
– Focus on times when your kids are arguing and help them resolve the issue in a mature manner.
– Be fair to all of them.
– Spend one on one time with each of them, equally.
– Plan a family bonding event at least once a month.
– Give each child their space.
– Teach your children to become “conflict fixers”.
– Engage in Family Therapy.

“Favoritism predictably has a number of negative consequences, beyond the self-esteem issues it can cause in non-favored children.” – Raquel Anderson, EdD, LMHC, NCC

 

Bipolar And Depressed: Can Life Ever Be Normal?

Source: Mavcure.com

How It Is To Be Bipolar

No one is spared from the ups and downs of life. We all get depressed and anxious and manage our feelings in our own different ways. But however angered we are, no one can top the tantrums that people with bipolar disorder manifest. Their ups and downs are extremely severe compared to ours, and theirs may last even for weeks. 

 

“Many people mistakenly believe that if you can’t see it like you can a broken bone, it must be less significant and therefore can be overcome by simply using willpower. If not, they mistakenly believe that people who suffer from depression are weak.”Simon Rego, PsyD.

 

Depression is part and parcel of any person with bipolar disorder. When they are depressed they usually: 

  • Have difficulty sleeping
  • Feel empty and very anxious
  • Have difficulty making decisions
  • Have suicidal ideations
  • Feel very low and do not have the will to get up from bed

 

People with bipolar disorder would probably have trouble answering you when you ask them if they ever had normal lives. For most of them, their issues go way back, from their alcoholic and abusive parents to the years when they were being bullied in school, and to the constant visits to their shrinks. 

 

Bipolar, Depressed, and Happy

But if normal meant having parts of their lives where they felt happiness and excitement and surprise, then yes, they too have their shares of the joys in this world. Their bipolar depressions are the worse that any one could ever witness – with a 40:1 ratio of depression to mania. However, when they are ‘themselves’ – meaning not in their bipolar selves – they can be happy when they choose to be. How can they do that?

Source: Betterhelp.com

 

  • “Bipolar disorder is probably the main psychiatric disorder where medication is absolutely essential.” John Preston, PsyD. explains. The first step to feeling normal and happy is to seek treatment from a specialist or a licensed professional. This involves getting into therapy and taking the proper medications to keep bipolar symptoms under control. As much as they pose a potential risk for side effects, prescription medicines play a very important role in the management of bipolar disorder. They reduce mood changes and manic depressions and help bipolar individuals get a grip of their lives in general. 

 

  • When you’ve decided to go into treatment, commit yourself to getting involved with the treatment. You can start off by gathering as much information as you can about the illness. Know your bipolar self so that you can anticipate the symptoms and learn how to control them. Talk with your doctor and speak your mind. Let him know how you feel and what you wish to accomplish with the treatment, which will probably last a lifetime so it would do you well to come up with your goals so that you will be encouraged and inspired to continue with it. 

Source: Blog.psychcentral.com

 

  • Remember to reach out to family, friends and support groups. Having someone to talk with eases the burden of being bipolar and having to deal with your different selves alone. Your significant others can also help you remember to take your medications regularly, which is again, very important.

 

Take time to go out and watch the movies or eat out with family and friends. If you feel like something’s wrong and you’re noticing symptoms, don’t hesitate to tell them so that they will know what to do (assuming they do). 

 

Online, there are several helpful communities that are available to listen to you or are eager to help you through email or chat. Most of these support groups are also composed of people who are afflicted with bipolar disorder, and some may even have more severe symptoms than you. It is also a great way for you to help by sharing your story and reaching out to others. Just keep in mind that “Online care is not for every patient or practitioner. Clients with more serious mental illnesses or addictions likely need more treatment than digital therapy can provide. And some clinicians may find certain telehealth modalities difficult,” says clinical psychologist Nina Barlevy, PsyD.

 

Final Thoughts

Source: Likesuccess.com

Living with bipolar disorder is undeniably difficult, but it doesn’t help to live with it in fear and hopelessness. People with this disorder need to know that happiness does exist and their bipolar selves can be controlled by medication, therapy, and by themselves. They can be happy and they can be normal. Happiness is for everyone – even for them. 

 

Sexual Addiction And Treatment

source: brooksbhcnv.com

When you hear the phrase sexual addiction, there is a certain stigma attached to it. For those whose minds are closed and judgmental, they think that people with this problem are doing it on purpose. Yes, being intimate with your loved one is beautiful and physically satisfying, but this is not the case with sex addicts. Some experts say that it is a progressive intimacy disorder. Others associate it with OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Either way, the point is that sexual addiction is a disorder, a sickness, an illness and at most times, the addicts cannot control it. It is, therefore, a mental health concern.

What is sexual addiction?

Barbara Steffens, a certified clinical sexual addiction specialist says “Sexual addiction exists in secret and often does not come to the surface until there is a crisis or several negative consequences.” But honestly, there is no scientific definition for sexual addiction, but due to its nature and characteristics, experts explain sexual addiction as a type of addiction being engaged in by people who compulsively feels the need to have sex even with strangers anytime, anyplace and anywhere. Even if the person they are doing it with is not hygienic or is married, the sexual addicts don’t care.

The sexual addicts are obsessed about the thought of doing the sexual deed and they need to act it out when triggered. It can be consensual sex with the other person or a form of molestation and rape if the sexual act is not performed with consent. Some addicts even have sex on their own by using various tools like sex toys or other means.

 

source: recoveryranch.com

What are the causes of sexual addiction?

Not all people are sex addicts and this makes the “disorder” or the “syndrome” real – it is a disease of the mind by some individuals only. “Like all addictions, the pursuit of sexual gratification can progress rapidly over a period of months or years until the behavior is unstoppable.”  Stanley H. Ducharme, PhD, a clinical psychologist explains. The National Association of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity in the United States revealed that somewhere between 3 to 6 percent of American adults suffer from a type of sexual addiction. It is also usually manifested relating to other disorders or addiction like drug abuse, binge-eating and bulimia.

As for the causes, experts lean towards to the “chemical imbalance in the brain” reason, like other mental health disorders. The craving for sex is lessened, if not halted, when the sexual addict is under medication. If they submit for treatment, they are given psychotropic drugs – the drugs prescribed to people with clinical depression and anxiety or panic disorder.

What are the signs and symptoms of sexual addiction?

The official diagnosis on sexual addiction is not yet cleared up, but experts have formulated a list as to how a sexual addict can be defined through their signs:

– Having sex regularly with different partners

– The feeling of wanting to stop having sex and yet, when the trigger comes along, the ability to control it becomes nonexistent and the person submits to the addiction like in a trance

– A strong desire to stop, but cannot and yet, always thinking about the sexual act which then disrupts their daily lives

– Engaging in activities relating to sex for a prolonged period like looking to hook up with someone or watching sex videos

– Forgetting about commitments and obligations because of being preoccupied with sex

– Continuing having sex with people despite negative consequences like risk of contracting STD or destroying a family

– Having sex almost every day and going as low as buying prostitutes to do it with

– Agitated and cantankerous when not being able to have sex

Is sexual addiction the same with hypersexual disorder?

In a way, yes – sexual addiction is Hypersexual Disorder. The American Psychiatric Association published a draft in 2010 regarding this issue and they enumerated a list of criteria for the Hypersexual Disorder. It’s basically the same as the signs and symptoms mentioned above with the addition that Hypersexual Disorder happens to people 18 years old and above. Also, there are sub-categories like masturbation, porno watching, hook ups, cybersex, phone sex, and going to strip clubs.

source: eyespyu.com

Am I addicted to sex or not?

Having a healthy sexual relationship with your spouse or partner is far from being addicted to sex. See the signs and symptoms enumerated above for you to know if you are a sex addict or someone who enjoys having sex in a normal state of mind. “For some sex addicts, behavior does not progress beyond compulsive masturbation or the extensive use of pornography or phone or computer sex services. For others, addiction can involve illegal activities such as exhibitionism, voyeurism, obscene phone calls, child molestation or rape.” Michael Herkov, Ph.D elaborates

Is there a way to treat sexual addiction?

Yes, there are many ways to treat sexual addiction, one of which is using antipsychotic drugs. You can also join treatment centers, therapy sessions or support groups on sexual addiction. But before you go through with treatment, you understand the following:

  1. Accept that you have a problem
    2. You believe that this problem will be solved by a higher power
    3. You submit to God
    4. You search your soul for morality
    5. Admit your wrongdoings to others and to God
    6. You accept God to unburden you of your wrongdoings
    7. You ask for relief from God
    8. Draw up a list of people you need to ask forgiveness from
    9. Make amends to everyone you have hurt
    10. Admit your mistakes and try to act with morality
    11. Pray to God for guidance and resistance to temptation
    12. Prepare for spiritual awakening and letting go of the sexual addiction past

 

Do You Need to Talk to Someone?

Some days are tougher than others; that is part of life.  One day may be easy, breezy and the next day may seem like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders.  If those weighted shoulders days far outweigh the easy, breezy days, what do you do to help yourself? Do you curl up into a ball and shut the world out?  Do you stay busy so you don’t have to think about any issues? Do you talk to a close friend about it? Another option if this is your present circumstance is to find someone to talk to who is trained to help you.

 

TALK THERAPY

Source: ausbildungen20.de

Most health insurance covers behavioral health appointments so if you feel the need to talk to someone about you current issues, your health insurance company is a good place to start.  Referrals are often needed so talking to your primary care provider first is always a good call. Many therapists/counselors have training in specific mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, social interaction issues, eating disorders, etc so it best to get matched up with someone who specializes in your area of need. As Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC says, “A good therapist should be open and willing to understand your concerns. If your counselor doesn’t take your concerns seriously or is unwilling to accept feedback, then it’s probably in your best interest to consult with another therapist about it.”

 

SUPPORT GROUPS

Source: hdsa.org

If your shoulders are weighed down because of a recent loss of a loved one, rehab stay or if you are trying to get sober; there are many support groups available in communities that you live in or that are near you.  Many times these meetings are held in churches or community centers and they support people who have very specific personal needs. It is a great place to start because everyone in the group knows what you are going through so they are not there to judge or point fingers.  Someone who is trained or has gone through the program usually leads the group so you know you are among friends and supporters even if you have never met any of them. Psychotherapist Ali Miller, MFT believes and says that “[T]here is encouragement to both talk about your life outside the group and also to talk about the dynamics within the group.”

 

ONLINE CHAT ROOMS/SUPPORT

Source: ak6.picdn.net

There are a plethora of resources online to help people who may be reticent about reaching out to a therapist or group.  This may be especially helpful to people who are anxious about talking to others or who feel more comfortable writing their feelings and responses.  Although you hope that you will meet others in the chats that are seeking help and want to help others, it is still important to be cautious about the personal information you give out.  Make sure that the chat rooms you seek are associated with some type of reputable company or agency before getting involved in the chats. Many times a trained moderator is in the chat room so you can be assured of positive, supportive interactions.

 

CLOSE FRIENDS

 

If you aren’t comfortable seeking out any of the above resources, but you have a trustworthy, dependable friend try talking to them about what is bothering or overwhelming you.  Sometimes an objective opinion can be immensely helpful. They may be a great support system to gently nudge you into getting additional help if it is needed. They may even hold your hand through the process and get you on the path that you need to be on.  Sometimes friends are going to therapy or have been in therapy and you don’t even know it. Seek out a good friend. “We only have control of ourselves and our own desire for growth and change. Part of that growth and change is deciding the type of person we allow in our lives, and the positive impact they can have on us.” A reminder from Nikki Martinez, Psy.D. LCPC

 

CRISIS HOTLINE

 

If at any time you feel like hurting yourself or worse, there are many crisis hotlines that you can call and you will be connected to a trained professional.  Don’t ever think that there is no one who cares. There is always someone ready to listen to you and who wants to help you.