Sexual addictions also known as compulsive sexual behavior is any excessive sexual urge that leads to increased distress in general and financial consequences that are attributed to these behaviors (SexualAddictions.com). In general addictions are characterized by failure to resist certain urges such as the impulse for sex, gambling, alcoholism, borderline personality disorders, self injurious behavior, drug addiction and eating disorders amongst others (SexualAddictions.com). Sexual addictions are mainly caused by childhood experiences and are used as defense mechanism against the harsh realities of life (SexualAddictions.com). They may work in the short term to relieve immediate stress but long term engagement becomes destructive.
Psychologist and psychiatrist are using SSRI and other oploid antagonists to treat extreme cases of addictions including sexual addictions (Raymond, Grand, Kim and Colemann). The principal mechanism of these treatments is to increase serotonin in the body which is inhibitory and to reduce dopamine which is related to pleasure and reward (Bostwick and Bucci). Some of the popular successful drugs include Naltrexone, Topiramate amongst others. A study in substance abuse and addiction by Lowinson et al revealed that in addictions, a person continues to behave in a certain way despite many attempt to stop and is aware of the harmful effect of that behavior (Lowinson, Ruiz, Millman and Langrod).
Another research study by Carnes indicates that sexual addiction can be determined using criteria that include the following: recurrent failure to control the problem, obsession with the addiction, persistent desire and failure to break from the habit (Carnes and Kenneth). Other tendencies include increased engagement in sexual activities, violent sexual behaviors, distress, anxiety and restlessness among others. The most salient features of these characteristics are compulsivity, continuation despite knowledge of consequences and finally obsession (Schneider and Richard).