How does the brain of a sex addict work?

Dr. Valerie Moon, a member of the team of researchers at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, says that we can not clearly talk about addiction, even though the study conducted with 19 adult men revealed a greater brain activity in three specific regions of the brain, which are the same as in the case of drug and alcohol addiction.

We can talk about addicted to sex when this phenomenon affects the emotional system of the person, such as his ability to lead a lifestyle completely normal.

When that does not happen, the doubts are then about the biology of the brain. In a sex addict, the dominant neurotransmitter is dopamine , a hormone linked to motivation and the re-feeding of rewards.

Other recent studies have revealed that there are differences between the brain of an alcoholic and that of a person who consumes alcohol, without suffering from addiction.

The chemical processes, neurological functioning and brain structure are qualitatively and quantitatively different comparing the alcoholic and the occasional consumer.

Would the same thing happen between sex addicts and people having a healthy sex life, more or less active?

The addict seeks to satisfy his sexual appetite by obligation, not pleasure.

How do we know if our brain is dependent?

In ancient Greece, the pleasant psycho-sexual act (eros), carnal pleasure (aphrodisia) and friendly relations (agape) were differentiated.

However, hypersexuality is solely related to material sexual desire , ie physical sex or simply aphrodisiac activity.

In spite of this, people who enjoy the most bodily experiences of their sexuality have no reason to hide.

We know that our brains are sex dependent and that we need outside help when all these criteria are met:

  • Your daily life is filled with thoughts, preoccupations and sexual fantasies that are impossible to forget and that lead to irrepressible impulses. The sexual desire is excessive and the lack of control is the central axis of the addiction.
  • The sexual drive is uncontrollable. It can not be interrupted or prevented and can even have serious or even dangerous consequences (physical exhaustion).
  • The materialization of fantasy acts as reinforcement of the conduct. It is not for pleasure but for physiological necessity that the drive must be satiated, to make disappear the malaise due to the inability to control this addiction.
  • This repetition of conduct and hypersexuality behavior has lasted for more than 6 consecutive months and is not simply due to an acute stress situation.
  • The negative effect is heightened with the evolution of addiction, increasing feelings of guilt or shame, destroying self-esteem and pushing for depression, self-rejection and romantic, family and professional breaks.

Addiction to sex is only the safety valve of people who have not otherwise managed their existential challenges.

There is still a lot of research to do …

Rory Reid, a psychologist at UCLA, confirms that research will be long to establish a diagnosis, classification and treatment of hypersexuality.

He says that “the brains confirm a strong sexual desire in the brain regions we thought of, but the study does not tell us if these people have a sex addiction.”

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