What is sex addiction? #1 Sexual Taboo Revealed

Posted on August 20, 2013. Filed under: Addiction, Relationship, Sex Addiction | Tags: , |

What is Sex Addiction?

What is Sex Addiction?

Currently I am on an airplane going from my prior home in Milan, Italy on my way to my new home in sunny California, I am writing you today’s top secret edition of True Potential TV.

Have you ever been humiliated, rejected or embarrassed?  Do you fear others judgment or criticism?  Unless you are an alien from outer space, you and most earthlings have these universal raw spots and sensitivities.

And if you or your partner are coping with delicate sexual issues or taboo sexual behaviors you may either keep it secret, hidden or pretend these issues don’t really exist.

In today’s True Potential TV episode, I am uncovering one of the most unspoken, yet addicting sexual taboos around.  Curious?

After working with couples around the globe, I have come across a sexual epidemic impacting many couples all over the world.  This sexual epidemic is known as sex addiction.

As this is a very private topic, which typically doesn’t come up in casual dinner conversation, I am peeling the kimono back (Bata Bing, Bata boom) so you too can discover the honest truth about the biology, criteria, patterns, and habits of someone who is sexually acting out or dealing with sexual impulsive behaviors.

You will definitely not want to MISS this sexual rendezvous of discovery.

Excerpts from video blog:

What Is Sex Addiction?  Sexual addiction is best described as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. Like all addictions, it negatively impacts the addict and the family members as the disorder progresses and the addictive behaviors intensify.

The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity has defined sexual addiction as:

  • engaging in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behavior acted out despite increasing negative consequences to self and others.
  • For example, someone with a sex addict will continue to engage in certain sexual behaviors despite facing financial problems, shattered relationships, potential health risks, or even arrest.

Symptoms of Addiction

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders, the symptoms of sex addiction are:

  • distress about a pattern of repeated sexual relationships involving a succession of lovers who are experienced by the individual only as things to be used.
  • compulsive searching for multiple partners
  • compulsive fixation on an unattainable partner
  • compulsive masturbation, compulsive love relationships and/or compulsive sexuality in a relationship.
  • extensive use of pornography, phone sex, cyber sex or other illegal activities like sex with a prostitute or fellow sex addicts.
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What is Co-Dependency?

Posted on December 10, 2012. Filed under: Addiction, Lifestyle, Relationship | Tags: , , |

Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. The disorder was first identified about ten years ago as the result of years of studying interpersonal relationships in families of alcoholics. Co-dependent behavior is learned by watching and imitating other family members who display this type of behavior.

Who Does Co-dependency Affect?

Co-dependency often affects a spouse, a parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker of a person afflicted with alcohol or drug dependence. Originally, co-dependent was a term used to describe partners in chemical dependency, persons living with, or in a relationship with an addicted person. Similar patterns have been seen in people in relationships with chronically or mentally ill individuals. Today, however, the term has broadened to describe any co-dependent person from any dysfunctional family.

What is a Dysfunctional Family and How Does it Lead to Co-dependency?

A dysfunctional family is one in which members suffer from fear, anger, pain, or shame that is ignored or denied. Underlying problems may include any of the following:

  • An addiction by a family member to drugs, alcohol, relationships, work, food, sex, or gambling.
  • The existence of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
  • The presence of a family member suffering from a chronic mental or physical illness.

Dysfunctional families do not acknowledge that problems exist. They don’t talk about them or confront them. As a result, family members learn to repress emotions and disregard their own needs. They become “survivors.” They develop behaviors that help them deny, ignore, or avoid difficult emotions. They detach themselves. They don’t talk. They don’t touch. They don’t confront. They don’t feel. They don’t trust. The identity and emotional development of the members of a dysfunctional family are often inhibited

Attention and energy focus on the family member who is ill or addicted. The co-dependent person typically sacrifices his or her needs to take care of a person who is sick. When co-dependents place other people’s health, welfare and safety before their own, they can lose contact with their own needs, desires, and sense of self.

How Do Co-dependent People Behave?

Co-dependents have low self-esteem and look for anything outside of themselves to make them feel better. They find it hard to “be themselves.” Some try to feel better through alcohol, drugs or nicotine – and become addicted. Others may develop compulsive behaviors like workaholism, gambling, or indiscriminate sexual activity.

They have good intentions. They try to take care of a person who is experiencing difficulty, but the caretaking becomes compulsive and defeating. Co-dependents often take on a martyr’s role and become “benefactors” to an individual in need. A wife may cover for her alcoholic husband; a mother may make excuses for a truant child; or a father may “pull some strings” to keep his child from suffering the consequences of delinquent behavior.

The problem is that these repeated rescue attempts allow the needy individual to continue on a destructive course and to become even more dependent on the unhealthy caretaking of the “benefactor.” As this reliance increases, the co-dependent develops a sense of reward and satisfaction from “being needed.” When the caretaking becomes compulsive, the co-dependent feels choiceless and helpless in the relationship, but is unable to break away from the cycle of behavior that causes it. Co-dependents view themselves as victims and are attracted to that same weakness in the love and friendship relationships.

Characteristics of Co-dependent People Are:

  • An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
  • A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue
  • A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time
  • A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts
  • An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment
  • An extreme need for approval and recognition
  • A sense of guilt when asserting themselves
  • A compelling need to control others
  • Lack of trust in self and/or others
  • Fear of being abandoned or alone
  • Difficulty identifying feelings
  • Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change
  • Problems with intimacy/boundaries
  • Chronic anger
  • Lying/dishonesty
  • Poor communications
  • Difficulty making decisions

Questionnaire To Identify Signs Of Co-dependency

This condition appears to run in different degrees, whereby the intensity of symptoms are on a spectrum of severity, as opposed to an all or nothing scale. Please note that only a qualified professional can make a diagnosis of co-dependency; not everyone experiencing these symptoms suffers from co-dependency.

1. Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?
2. Are you always worried about others’ opinions of you?
3. Have you ever lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem?
4. Have you ever lived with someone who hits or belittles you?
5. Are the opinions of others more important than your own?
6. Do you have difficulty adjusting to changes at work or home?
7. Do you feel rejected when significant others spend time with friends?
8. Do you doubt your ability to be who you want to be?
9. Are you uncomfortable expressing your true feelings to others?
10. Have you ever felt inadequate?
11. Do you feel like a “bad person” when you make a mistake?
12. Do you have difficulty taking compliments or gifts?
13. Do you feel humiliation when your child or spouse makes a mistake?
14. Do you think people in your life would go downhill without your constant efforts?
15. Do you frequently wish someone could help you get things done?
16. Do you have difficulty talking to people in authority, such as the police or your boss?
17. Are you confused about who you are or where you are going with your life?
18. Do you have trouble saying “no” when asked for help?

If you have answered yes to 5 or more of these questions you have some co-dependent tendencies.  If you would like to increase self-esteem, change these habitual patterns or learn how to build a healthy relationship, please contact True Potential Counseling for assistance.

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What is Sex Addiction?

Posted on July 15, 2012. Filed under: Addiction, Lifestyle, Men, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , , , , , |

Recognizing that you may have an addiction can be scary: You want to know what to do, but you’re afraid to learn any more about yourself. You want to talk to someone about your problem, but you’re afraid to trust anyone.  This blog post is a starting point to explore what sex addiction is, what are the causes and a quiz to assess your level of addiction.

What Is Sex Addiction?  Sexual addiction is best described as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. Like all addictions, it negatively impacts the addict and the family members as the disorder progresses and the addictive behaviors intensify.  To learn about the 5 Tips to Changing Impulsive Behavior click on the link provided.

The National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity has defined sexual addiction as “engaging in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behavior acted out despite increasing negative consequences to self and others.” For example, someone with a sex addict will continue to engage in certain sexual behaviors despite facing financial problems, shattered relationships, potential health risks, or even arrest.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders, Volume Four describes sex addiction, under the category “Sexual Disorders Not Otherwise Specified,” as “distress about a pattern of repeated sexual relationships involving a succession of lovers who are experienced by the individual only as things to be used.” According to the manual, sex addiction also involves “compulsive searching for multiple partners, compulsive fixation on an unattainable partner, compulsive masturbation, compulsive love relationships and compulsive sexuality in a relationship.”

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.

What Causes Sex Addiction?

Why some people, and not others, develop an addiction to sex is not fully understood. Since antidepressants and other psychotropic medications have proven effective in treating some people with sex addiction, some suggest that  biochemical abnormality or other brain changes increase risk.

Other studies indicate that food, drug abuse and sexual interests share a common pathway within our brains’ survival and reward systems; which thus short circuit the are of the brain responsible for our higher thinking, rational thought and judgment.  For example, the brain tells the sex addict that having illicit sex is good the same way it tells others that food is good when they are hungry. As a result of these brain changes, the sex addict becomes preoccupied with sex, participates in compulsive sexual behavior despite negative consequences and fails at attempting to limit or terminate sexual behavior.  This biochemical model helps explain why competent, intelligent, goal-directed people can be so easily sidetracked by drugs and sex.

People addicted to sex get a sense of euphoria and use sexual activity to seek pleasure, avoid unpleasant feelings or respond to outside stressors. This is not unlike how an alcoholic uses alcohol. In both instances, any reward gained from the experience soon gives way to guilt, remorse and promises to change.

Research also has found that sex addicts often come from dysfunctional families and are more likely than non-sex addicts to have been abused. One study found that 82 percent of sex addicts reported being sexually abused as children. Sex addicts often describe their parents as rigid, distant and uncaring. These families, including the addicts themselves, are more likely to be substance abusers. One study found that 80 percent of recovering sex addicts report some type of addiction in their families of origin.

Sex Addiction Quiz: The Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST) is designed to assist in the assessment of sexually compulsive behavior which may indicate the presence of sex addiction. Developed in cooperation with hospitals, treatment programs, private therapists, and community groups, the SAST provides a profile of responses which help to discriminate between addictive and non-addictive behavior.  We strongly urge that diagnosis and treatment be done with a trained professional. This assessment is designed to help you decide whether you should seek further help.

For more information on how you can begin your recovery process, please contact True Potential Counseling today.

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Top 6 Triggers for Over-eating and Helpful Suggestions

Posted on February 21, 2012. Filed under: Addiction, Children and Adolescents, Lifestyle | Tags: , , , , |

1. “I Am Bored Out Of My Mind.”– You eat when you’re bored or do not have anything interesting to do or look forward to.

Solution: Prepare some healthy snacks like cut up fruit or vegetables and leave them in the fridge. If you decide to grab something to eat why not eat a healthy treat.

2. “I Shouldn’t Eat That.” Societal messages glorifying the importance of thinness has led to restrictive dieting tendencies in teens and young adults. By creating rules and guidelines around which foods are forbidden, it can lead to an endless cycle of restriction, breaking “the plan” and then feeling guilty and self-loathing as a result. To numb the negative feelings either the cycle of over-indulgence in restricted food continues or one may engage in harmful restricting or purging behaviors to try to cope.

Solution: Focus instead on healthy eating habits and exercise habits in general. Become aware of distorted thinking patterns and begin to challenge them or get a more balanced and realistic point of view. Focus on your overall physical well-being and health. Remember no harm will be done if you allow yourself to eat foods high in fat in moderation occasionally. Maintain a normal blood sugar level by eating small amounts every 3 hours. If binging, purging or restricting are occurring, seek advice from a Licensed Professional Counselor or Psychologist as these compulsive behaviors have very serious health risks attached to them.

3. “I Don’t Have Any Energy.”– After spending your day studying, working or both, you feel drained and tired. When you are experiencing low levels of energy you may reach for food to give us a boost. Feeling stressed or lacking vitality may cause you to reach for foods high in sugar, salt or carbohydrates. Although this may give us energy in the short-term, in the long-term it results in a depletion of energy.

Solution: Give yourself proper nutrition on a regulate basis to improve your energy level. Reach for foods high in vitamins and nutrients such as protein, nuts, fruits and vegetable, and carbohydrates high in fiber to give you some get up and go. Become aware of your low-energy periods of the day and substitute them with other activities for eating. Participate in alternative behaviors like taking a walk, chatting with friends, taking a break and getting a drink of water, relaxing, reading a book or listening to music that is positive and energizing.

4. Habits– Your daily routine is not as healthy as it could be and your habits may be so automatic that you are not even aware of them. If we have difficulty managing stress or have a lack of physical activity we may feel out of balance. Excessive eating may become an unhealthy coping mechanism for dealing with emotions. Since overeating could have a ritualistic nature, your tendencies can occur at specific times in the day or in particular places.

Solution: Begin incorporating stress reduction tactics into your daily routine (i.e. exercise, yoga, meditation, journal, watch a funny movie, etc.). Become aware of your triggers and tendencies and change you routine.  Get a hobby that interests you. Address feelings of depression, anger and anxiety and reach out to a friend or a Licensed Professional Counselor for help.

5. “I Hate My Body.” If you are having difficulty accepting your body you may only be focusing on what is wrong and missing the big picture. There can be various thought distortions like: all-or-nothing thinking, over-generalization or catastrophic thinking, which are skewing your perspective and causing you to have an irrational view of yourself, the world, or the situation.

Solution: Seek professional advice from a dietitian or psychologist who will help you overcome these feelings of self-loathing and map out a plan to increase your self-esteem and improve your body-image. Identify your gifts, qualities and talents that you possess and celebrate those gifts daily.

6. Feeling Stressed Out!!!– You have pressures coming at you from different directions and are left feeling discouraged and overwhelmed. You spend a lot of your energy trying to live up to other people’s expectations or feel discouraged by other people’s remarks that you are exhausted. If you tend to be a perfectionist you may set such high and unrealistic expectations that you feel constantly defeated. Reaching for comfort food may be a way of coping with feeling out of control in your internal world.

Solution: Have compassion for yourself and take time out of your daily schedule to focus on self-care and relaxation is vital to your overall well-being. When our bodies are in a constant state of high alert our body releases toxic chemicals such as adrenaline, hormones, and cortisol. In order to prevent your stress level from passing the threshold, is important to give yourself permission to slow down. 

Take 5 minutes to breath and activate the parasympathetic system that calms down your central nervous system. Only then will your body be able to restore its natural balance and regulate your emotional and physiological system.

Learning to manage your emotions can lead to long-term success in life, instead of the temporary solution of turning to food or compulsive behaviors to cope. If you feel emotional eating is a problem, it may be wise to work with a counselor trained in eating disorders to help you create a healthy lifestyle and improve your quality of life.

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Posted on October 14, 2011. Filed under: Addiction, Communication, Lifestyle, Marriage, Men, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , |

Making a promise is easy; however, the endeavor to consistently follow through on those promises can be daunting at times.  Periodically we find it easier to agree to undertaking an impossible task as opposed to facing the discomfort of saying no to someone.  Although being honest about our limitations can be unpleasant for us and disappointing to others on occasions, being a person of integrity and sincerity is a valuable asset. Being trustworthy and reliable is our most powerful possession because it not only develops our character but also cultivates a sense of safety and security in our personal and professional relationships.

If you do catch yourself in a lie, reflect on your motivation for hiding the truth.  And if you fall into the trap of not keeping your word, simply acknowledge it and make amends immediately.   By following through on your commitments and agreements you prove you are worthy of trust and demonstrate to others your value for integrity and honesty.  If you would like additional assistance or desire counseling services, feel free to visit my website at

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Sex Addiction and Saving your Marriage

Posted on November 7, 2010. Filed under: Addiction, Health, Lifestyle, Marriage, Relationship | Tags: , |

Do you think you may have a sex addiction?  Have you experienced a lack of intimacy or emotion during sex? Have had sexual interactions with several partners?  There is help available to support you in your recovery.  With the help of a therapist and Sexual Addicts Anonymous you can move towards recovery and towards greater intimacy with yourself and those you love.  You are not alone.  There are several men and women throughout the world that are struggling with sex addiction.  Often times there are fears of admitting the truth to yourself and to your spouse with whom you have been unfaithful.  As part of your treatment you can work towards greater wholeness, increasing your self-esteem and self-worth and can repair the hurts from your past.  When you are ready to disclose and heal the damage that has occurred in your relationship a trained Emotionally Focused Therapist (EFT) can help facilitate the disclosure, assist in the rebuilding of trust in the relationship, increase openess and honest in the relationship, and guide the couple in experiencing a deeper and more intimate connection with  their partner.  If interested in finding out more about how EFT can assist you in your relationship please feel free to call and receive a free 15 minute consultation today.

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Text Messaging or Text Addiction?

Posted on April 20, 2010. Filed under: Addiction, Children and Adolescents, Communication | Tags: , , , , , , |

Is text messaging turing into text addiction?  Imaging studies show that when we receive a text message our dopamine levels sky rocket in the same way an addict’s brain responds after a fix.  However, if a person does not receive a text message and are anticipating a response, studies indicate that anxious and depressive symptoms result.  On my train ride into Zurich this morning, I saw a teenager send 200 text messages non-stop while her parent’s and little sister played cards and tried to convince her to spend quality time with them as a family.  Text messaging can also lead to potential accidents as well.  According to a study released by the National Safety Council, twenty-eight percent of traffic accidents occur when people talk on cellphones or send text messages while driving.  And lastly, there have been occasions where relationships have also become strained due to misunderstandings of tone and content received via text.  Has this ever happened to you?  Text messaging does have its advantages as well, allowing us to receive or send information quickly and clearly.    Last month, I was meeting a friend for dinner but had forgotten the main cross streets but within 1 minute my girlfriend had sent me not only the address but also the cross streets and phone number of the restaurant.  Amazing!  In business it can also be very useful when you need to get in contact with a client and are stuck in a meeting.  So, what do you think?  Is text messaging bringing us closer together or further apart?  Do the disadvantages outweight the cons?  Inquiring minds want to know.

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