What is Sexual Addiction?

By whatever name, Hypersexuality Disorder or Sexual Addiction, people seek help because they need help. Sometimes those of us who support people who are struggling see the challenge so clearly and in such detail, that we lose sight of the simple fact that many, many people remain confused and bewildered by the chaos and harm that results when one's sexual behavior gets out of control.

From time to time it is important to review the basics. Addiction is really not that complicated from a clinical perspective even though the scientific words sound complicated. It is a self-induced learning disorder brought on by the dysregulation of the mesolimbic dopaminegic system. The more complicated language is a follows....

"The mesolimbic dopaminergic (ML-DA) system has been recognized for its central role in motivated behaviors, various types of reward, and, more recently, in cognitive processes. Functional theories have emphasized DA's involvement in the orchestration of goal-directed behaviors, and in the promotion and reinforcement of learning. The affective neuroethological perspective views the ML-DA system in terms of its ability to activate an instinctual emotional appetitive state (SEEKING) evolved to induce organisms to search for all varieties of life-supporting stimuli and to avoid harms.

"A description of the anatomical framework in which the ML system is embedded is followed by the argument that the SEEKING disposition emerges through functional integration of ventral basal ganglia (BG) into thalamocortical activities. Filtering cortical and limbic input that spread into BG, DA transmission promotes the "release" of neural activity patterns that induce active SEEKING behaviors when expressed at the motor level. Reverberation of these patterns constitutes a neurodynamic process for the inclusion of cognitive and perceptual representations within the extended networks of the SEEKING urge. In this way, the SEEKING disposition influences attention, incentive salience, associative learning, and anticipatory predictions."

For those who like to dig into neural research, you can learn more here. For the rest, we provide in this month's blog posts, focused on a back to the basics primer.  Stay tuned.

LifeStar Sacramento helps those seeking help with hypersexuality disorder. If you know of someone who may struggle with a sexual addiction and/or a spouse or partner who is suffering from the pain from this behavior, call now for help: 916-728-5433.

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