COVID-19 Self Isolation Sees Addiction Issues Soar

COVID-19 has suddenly changed our lives. Being socially isolated and uncertain of when our lives will return to some normality is causing many of us to feel anxious and experience feelings of sadness and helplessness and boredom.  People in this situation may seek self -soothing behaviours.

Some may find themselves bored and turn to alcohol, drugs or sex/pornography to obliterate their negative feeling and thoughts. Those with an addictive gene may become addicted. This article focuses on sex and porn addiction. If you are finding you are spending more and more time than you were viewing pornography, spending more time searching for different material to get that dopamine high, have become more disinterested in activities you once liked and find you cannot stop you may be on the road to being addicted.

Here is some information and ways that may help you beat your addiction. Seeing an addiction counsellor can be helpful to guide you through your journey.

Sex/pornography addiction differs from other addictions.

  • Is a biological drive.
  • We eat, sleep, procreate to survive.
  • It has the Coolidge effect. Attracted to a certain mate for a while. Gets tired of that mate and needs a new partner to spread the gene pool in order to minimise the risk of faulty genes.
  • A person cannot abstain for ever.

People with sex addiction

  • End up depressed, no libido in the real world and effects all areas of their life

Solutions

  • Rebooting
    • Sleep, nutrition and exercise
    • Pharmacotherapy, speak to your GP
    • Identify things that made you happy
    • Find activities to occupy your time
  • Map out the craving and rewire
    • Identify and try to eliminate the triggers
    • Do something to remove the temptation
    • Only allow yourself to experience sexual pleasure with a single person in a monogamous relationship
    • You will eventually reboot and rewire. You will be then attracted to your partner. Can take two to six months. Remember it is temporary.
  • Distress tolerance
    • Cope with the crisis situations and urges in less destructive ways.
    • Write a goodbye letter to the craving.
    • Play out the perceived acting out focusing on the negative aspects and impacts.
    • Use surfing or riding out the cravings.
    • Do alternative activities.
    • Hold a block of ice in your hand to distract.
    • Engage in active distraction such as walking the dog, gardening or household chores for example.
  • Remember
    • Sex addiction has similarities and differences with drug addiction
    • The younger a person engages in pornography the greater the possibility of addiction
    • If your doctor agrees anti-depressants can be helpful
    • As with any addiction the reason someone starts needs to be addressed
    • Unlike other addictions permanent abstinence is not recommended, so a strong relapse prevention plan is needed.
    • Common triggers for sex addiction include anxiety, boredom. Depression, guilt, habit, relationship problems, shame, stress, movies, television, social media , low self- esteem, too much alcohol and or stimulants

Also, seek help from an addictions specialist. My practice gives away a first call with the counsellor for free when you call 0418 720 176.

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