Recent studies suggest that many individuals who abuse or are addicted to stimulants may consistently combine their drug use with sexual activity. It is also clear that when a stimulant drug addiction consistently is combined with sex, the sexual fantasy/behavior can both reinforce the intensity and frequency of chronic or binge drug abuse and act as a contributor to post-treatment relapse. Over time, stimulant drug abuse and sexual activity can become so tightly associated for these individuals that engaging in one activity leads to the other. Getting high on stimulants and finding/seeking/having sex become a single co-morbid addiction.
How Can We Treat this Population?
Unfortunately, individuals with an extensive history of abusing drugs and sex simultaneously – have ended up being treated for only the drug addiction. Their shame and secrets regarding past sexual behaviors were left unaddressed, as well as how to deal with sex during recovery. Many of these individuals leave substance abuse treatment without even realizing there is a sexual addiction that needs to be resolved.
Hope for the Previously Hopeless
Many individuals have expended significant financial and other resources trying to achieve and maintain sobriety, only to relapse when the untreated, sexual half of their behavioral problem rears its ugly head. Some of these individuals have likely lost hope of ever achieving lasting sobriety. Only by recognizing and fully treating the fusion of their behaviors as one addiction can clinicians construct and implement treatment regimens that entirely (rather than partially) meet the needs of these individuals. Treating drug use and sexual acting out simultaneously is the best way to help these clients gain insight into the full nature of their addiction patterns, reduce shame, identify succinct relapse triggers, and develop a relapse prevention plan for the entire spectrum of their problem. When treated in this holistic way, these individuals are offered the best opportunity to both develop and maintain a addiction-free life.
A.C.T. will provide free resource information for individuals and families to help promote education. For more information, please contact Dr. Drecun at Dr.Drecun@a4ct.com or (858) 792-3541. You may also visit us online at www.a4ct.com. ACT serves the Del Mar 92014 and Rancho Santa Fe 92067 area.