Drug Addiction

The sex-drug connection and how it harms

Defining Drug Addiction

It is not uncommon for sexual addiction issues to lead to drug addiction, and vice versa. Those who are misusing drugs may find it easier to engage in promiscuous behavior when they are under the influence. This unhealthy dynamic not only creates an association of drug use with sex, but neural pathways also become affected by both behaviors.

Trauma is often the underlying issue involved in both drug addiction and sexual addiction. When an individual is unable to cope with their psychological issues in a healthy way, they often turn to drugs and sex to relieve the burden they feel. The link between drugs and sexual addiction is further reinforced when people want to escape the emotional consequences of their actions.

Men with sexual addiction have behavior that is compelled by a biochemical process, and when they reflect on their behavior in a sober light, feelings of guilt and remorse often cause them to feel devastated. To avoid the painful emotions associated with their behavior, they will again turn to drugs or sex. At Gentle Path, we work with our patients to help them recognize and understand the role drug abuse disorder plays in their sexual addiction issues and help them stop the destructive cycle.

Opiates and Sexual Addiction

Opiates are typically prescribed for treating pain, so using something that a doctor gives out may start as a harmless and voluntary act, but in time it can develop into a dangerous habit. In the beginning, drug use may seem to work to self-medicate, minimizing emotional and physical pain. As prolonged drug use continues, though, it only makes the original issues worse and can severely impacting an individual’s brain chemistry, resulting in addiction.

Cocaine and Sexual Addiction

This strong stimulant can leave users with intense feelings of happiness or agitation. It is also highly addictive and can cause serious physical damage to the brain and heart. For sex addicts, it may also increase their drive to act out and obsessively engage in sexual activities, making for a truly dangerous duo.

Meth and Sexual Addiction

Crystal meth (crystallized methamphetamine) is a highly addictive drug that affects the central nervous system. Use of meth can lead to feelings of elation and excitement. It can also fuel a sex addict’s need to engage in risky and inappropriate sexual behaviors that they may not ordinarily engage in when sober.

Stimulant drugs like cocaine and meth activate the same part of the brain that sexual acting out does, causing those who engage in both of these behaviors to quickly — and often dangerously — lose control of the amount and frequency of use. Some individuals who abuse stimulants and act out sexually at the same time can lose track of hours, days, and sometimes weeks.

Comprehensive Treatment for Complex Issues

Whatever the substance used, drug addiction can have far-reaching physical and emotional effects that are only compounded by a co-occurring sexual addiction.

Physical effects of drug misuse:

  • Diminished health
  • Weakened immune system
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
  • Liver damage or failure
  • Seizures, strokes, and even brain damage
  • Physical injuries or accidents
  • Higher risk of domestic violence
  • Death

Mental/emotional effects of drug misuse:

  • Behavioral problems
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressiveness
  • Hallucinations
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impulsiveness
  • Loss of self-control
  • Estrangement of loved ones

These complex issues need comprehensive treatment. Our sexual addiction treatment program at Gentle Path can provide inpatient psychiatric care and substance detox in the acute care section of our unit, which has 24-hour monitoring by registered nurses and nursing staff experienced in psychiatric and detox issues.

Recovery is Possible

Gentle Path is a safe, nurturing community composed of peers where your journey of recovery will include not just dealing with outward behaviors but examining the underlying causes. The goal is to gain the courage to face difficult issues (including grief and loss), heal from emotional trauma, and become accountable for your feelings, behaviors, and recovery.

 

Taking that first step is hard, but there’s a new life of health and hope just waiting for you. The next chapter of your life can begin now, but only you can change your story.

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