If you’re researching sex addiction, you’ll come across the term “EMDR.” Addiction treatment explanations are full of acronyms that can get confusing. So this post answers the question, “What is EMDR, and how can it help sex addiction?”
Mental health professionals use EMDR to help people recover from a variety of trauma-induced mental health concerns. Since trauma frequently is the root cause of sex addiction, they frequently use EMDR to treat it.
What is EMDR?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a type of therapy that helps relieve the distress of traumatic memories. It can help you heal your symptoms of anguish and previously harmful life experiences. One of the traits of EMDR is how quickly it tends to work. Often traumatic memories can heal as the physical body heals from a traumatic experience.
EMDR may look a little strange to an outsider. Your therapist may move their fingers around in front of your eyes. They also may use a series of tapping motions or musical tones to help during an EMDR session.
While they’re moving their fingers, they ask you to recount memories and describe your bodily and emotional sensations. Gradually, your therapist will guide you toward more pleasant thoughts and memories. You’ll notice that negative experiences won’t feel as harmful or distressing. By working through your traumatic memories, they lose their power and become less triggering.
EMDR therapy focuses on the past, present, and future to ensure unity in your healing. Essentially, it allows you to rewrite learned behaviors and emotional triggers. You create helpful patterns and skills for the future.
Sex Addiction and Trauma
Sex addiction is a compulsive sexual behavior disorder. This disorder means a person has difficulty controlling their impulses around sex. As a result, sexual behaviors begin impacting their ability to live their lives.
Trauma often is the root cause of sex addiction. When you experience a traumatizing event, your body enters fight-or-flight mode. Your emotional processing shuts down. And your brain redirects your energy toward releasing adrenaline, so you can escape danger. Trauma gets you stuck in this mode.
To return to your normal functioning, you need to exit fight-or-flight mode. To do this, you need something called “dopamine.” Dopamine is the “feel-good” chemical in the brain. You can get a little of it from a hug or a lot of it from sexual pleasure.
Those with sex addiction learn to relax their fight-or-flight reaction through sexual pleasure. As you repeat these habits in stressful times, they become learned behavior. This behavior means that anything that triggers a stress response also activates sexual desire.
If you think you or your loved one has a sex addiction, look for some of these signs:
- Compulsive masturbation or escalating porn use
- Obsessive thoughts around sex and masturbation that interfere with daily life
- Avoiding activities that don’t include sex, such as family or business gatherings
- Failure to keep promises about changing their sexual behaviors
- Repeated failed attempts to stop compulsive sexual behaviors
- Low self-esteem
- Defensiveness about their behaviors
- An inability to experience empathy or emotional intimacy
- Engaging in risky sexual behaviors that have serious consequences
- Experiencing the loss of a job or relationship as a result of sexual behaviors
- Feeling shame or guilt after sexual activities.
Sex addiction isn’t always noticeable. It is likely to be an accumulation of small changes over time. If you or your loved one has a sex addiction, EMDR can be a critical tool for recovery.
What is EMDR, and How Can It Help Sex Addiction?
EMDR is used to help treat people with all kinds of disorders, including anxiety disorders, eating disorders, trauma disorders, and addictions. Mental health professionals can use it to treat any mental health concern rooted in trauma.
With EMDR you get to the root cause of your sex addiction and help you relieve your symptoms and triggers. It can help you put a stop to destructive behaviors and uncover the cause of your addiction.
You can break the linkage between distress and sex by understanding your behavior and where it originates through EMDR. You’ll learn how to make healthier choices. You will put an end to your harmful sexual behavior and regain your sense of control.
Getting EMDR Treatment for Sex Addiction
At Begin Again Institute, we understand that healing the root cause of sex addiction is necessary for recovery. Healing is the only way to put a complete stop to your destructive behaviors. Instead of treating the symptoms of sex addiction, we learn who you are from the inside out.
Counselors at Begin Again Institute will treat you with empathy and address your needs individually. You’ll have a multitude of treatment options, like EMDR, available to you here. If you’re ready to heal and put a stop to your sexual behaviors, contact us today.