Depression, Loneliness and Sex Addiction

Depression, Loneliness and Sex AddictionSex addiction may stem from loneliness and depressed feelings, and without healthy coping methods and effective treatment, these painful feelings may lead to more compulsive sexual behavior.

Causes of Depression and Sex Addiction

Depression and sex addiction may have similar causes. A difficult childhood due to neglect, abuse, or an addicted parent may affect an individual as an adult, and may increase the chance of depression or anxiety. An individual with poor emotional boundaries may pursue the rush of sexual activity in order to avoid negative emotions. Depression combined with a history of unhealthy relationships may increase the craving for the rush of dopamine that sexual activity provides. This dopamine rush stimulates the reward pathway and some opioid receptors in the brain, which may be addicting to some individuals.

Healthy sexual activity with a partner may strengthen emotional bonds. However, when sex is used to avoid negative thoughts, it may become a crutch that an individual feels they cannot do without. An individual engaging in compulsive sexual activity may not care about his partner or partner’s experience during sex. The boost in dopamine is only temporary, and when positive feelings wear off, an individual may feel more lonely, depressed, and guilty about the compulsive sexual behavior.

The Cycle of Sex Addiction

When an individual experiences negative thoughts or loneliness due to past trauma, relationship conflicts, or other problems, it may cause him to feel depressed or anxious. Individuals who are unable to cope in a healthy way with anxiety or depression may develop unhealthy thinking patterns or cognitive distortion. This may involve overreacting, seeing only the negative side of a situation, or other distorted thinking. These distorted thinking patterns may be more likely in those with a genetic predisposition to anxiety, or an imbalance in brain chemicals such as serotonin or dopamine.

The negative emotions and thinking patterns may build until the individual seeks an unhealthy way of coping with them. To find relief for emotional distress, an individual may seek out casual sexual activity. While this may provide temporary relief, compulsive sexual behavior often leads to more guilt, depression, and loneliness. Individuals may feel ashamed of their behavior and isolated from those around them. These negative feelings may build up and lead to more compulsive sexual behavior. Sexual addiction may become worse over time due to this cycle of depression, loneliness, and compulsive sexual behavior.

How Treatment May Be Beneficial for Sex Addiction and Depression

An individual addicted to sex may be unable to have a healthy romantic relationship with another person. Individuals may hide their sexual activity from partners, and the shame they may feel may make it more difficult to talk about their addiction. Without finding support from others, individuals may become more depressed and isolate themselves from others, increasing loneliness and possibly worsening compulsive sexual activities as a way to compensate.

Treatment for sex addiction and depression can help treat both problems at the same time, which may increase the chance of success. By entering treatment and being honest with themselves and their partners, individuals may be able to begin learning healthy ways to cope with depression and loneliness.

Learn More about Treatment for Sex Addiction

If you are suffering from depression and compulsive sexual behavior, call us now. Our counselors can answer your questions about sex addiction and help you find treatment that addresses your unique issues and needs. Call now, our toll-free helpline is available 24 hours a day.