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Reasons Why People Become Addicted to Sex and Porn 1 Trauma

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Reasons Why People Become Addicted to Sex and Porn 1 Trauma

Rather than reasons I prefer to use the term 'probable factors'. We can never know for sure but in most cases I can help a client understand the root probable factors that led them to become a sex addict or porn addict.

Most of the time the factors are deep in an addict's personal history such as an even that changed their psychology for life or until they sort it out somehow.

This post talks about the role of trauma as a probable causal factor and is a good starting point because it occurs very often.  For example, as a result of our discussions my clients have been able to make a link between a traumatic event such as parental divorce when they were a child and their addictive behaviours.  What links these two is the commonly accepted process whereby the addictive behaviours are serving the purpose of self-medicating against the ongoing symptoms of the trauma experience - these might include anxiety or panic attacks, physical symptoms such as unexplained aches and pains, or a need to withdraw from normal social interactions.

Where trauma experiences are pushed under the carpet ie not processed or dealt with in a meaningful way, they have a common habit of trying to break out.  I once heard the metaphorical idea of a snake under a rug which just moves position when the lump is trodden down.  In other words, the trauma doesn't go away by itself, it just keeps making its presence known in a wide variety of symptoms, all of which may lead to the need for self-medicating compulsive behaviours such as sex and porn addictions.  Trauma experiences and memories of them are often thought of as being 'locked up' in the emotional part of the brain and therefore requiring unlocking, 'digesting' or processing.

Traumas range fro big 'T'' ones to small 't' ones.  Big T traumas are parental divorce, serious health issues and hospitalisations, abuse and neglect, unexpected or violent harm to or death of close ones or witnessing  such events.  Small traumas, which vary in their impact on people, can include bullying, minor accidents, unpleasant experiences at home, school or work, ending of relationships, redundancy or motor accidents.  

Many of my clients have been so effective at pushing their trauma experiences under the carpet that they say they haven't had any.  It turns out in many cases that there have been difficult experiences but they don't come back into full awareness until the 3rd or 4th session!

The lesson here is to acknowledge trauma experiences and to examine the likely impact on your emotional, psychological and physiological health and if necessary seek support aimed at processing the trauma memories so their impact is lessened or eradicated.

An example for illustration is about a 45 year old porn addict who identifies through discussions with me that he was sexually abused by an older cousin over a number of years when he was around the age of 8-11.  This abuse gave rise to a number of conflicting emotions such as pleasure, confusion, shame and also led to distortions about relationships and sex whilst generating high levels of insecurity and mistrust.  So whilst the trauma was many years ago, the client was still living the effects of the experience in his current relationships including anxiety around sex and the trusting of others leading to social isolation.

Trauma can be processed using several methods.  As well as talk therapy and cognitive approaches the use of EMDR has been found to be particularly effective in as few as 2 or 3 sessions.  This option is available at Esteem Therapy Yorkshire.

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