Addiction

By: Dianna Gomez

It is more often than not assumed that a person addicted to a substance, whether it be drugs or alcohol, is someone with shallow morals, little motivation, and that if he or she really wanted to, they could simply stop using at any moment. These assumptions show how extremely misunderstood addiction is by our general public, as well as how infrequently this topic is discussed among us. Addiction is a chronic disease that affects a person’s brain chemistry, thoughts, and behaviors. An individual can initially fall into addiction through voluntarily substance use or through necessary use of prescription medication prescribed by a doctor (ex: pain medication for after a surgery). When addiction first begins, the substance affects the reward circuits in the brain which causes feelings of complete euphoria. If a person continues to use the substance, the brain adjusts itself and develops a “tolerance” for it, which causes the individual to not feel the effects of the drug as intensely as they did the first time the drug was taken. This requires the person to have to use a larger quantity of the substance in order to reach the same level of “high” they did before. There are many different ways an individual can naturally be more vulnerable to addiction throughout their lifetime. Two of these main ways include biology and environment.

Biology: the genetics a person is born with can affect up to 50% of their risk for becoming addicted to a substance. This includes factors such as gender, ethnicity, and an individual’s family mental health history.

Environment: the conditions in which an individual is brought up in such as their economic status, family/friends, and quality of life in general also plays a huge role in their vulnerability for addiction. Peer pressure, lack of parental guidance, traumatic experiences with abuse (physical, emotional, sexual) are a few examples of common environmental influences.

If either you or anybody you know suffers from substance abuse or addiction, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can help you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit us at https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 

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Compulsive Sexual Behavior

Compulsive Sexual Behavior/ Hypersexuality:
By: Cassie Sieradzky

Compulsive sexual behavior, also known as hypersexuality or sexual addiction, is characterized by frequent sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviors. These intense and repetitive preoccupations are uncontrollable and distressing to the individual, which can result in impaired daily functioning. Compulsive sexual behavior is more common in men and usually develops during late adolescence or early adulthood. This disorder is often undiagnosed because the individual may feel embarrassed about their behavior and unwilling to disclose information that could lead to a diagnosis and they may be unaware that this disorder can be successfully treated.

Compulsive sexual behavior can be diagnosed if a person experiences 3 or more symptoms for over 6 months. The symptoms include time consumed by sexual urges/fantasies/behaviors repetitively interferes with other important facets of life, repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies/urges/behaviors in response to negative mood states, repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies/urges/behaviors in response to stressful life events, repetitive but unsuccessful efforts to control these symptoms, and repetitively engaging in sexual behaviors while disregarding the risk for physical or emotional harm to self or others. Compulsive sexual behavior is highly comorbid and research suggests that about 50% of adults diagnosed with this disorder also meet criteria for at least 1 other psychiatric disorder, such as mood, anxiety, substance use, impulse control, or personality disorders. This disorder also comes with increased risk of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Psychotherapy and some medications are successful in treating compulsive sexual disorder.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from compulsive sexual behavior, licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Grant, J. E. (2018, February). Compulsive sexual behavior: A nonjudgmental approach. Current Psychiatry, 17(2), 34-45.