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How Sexual Addicts Think

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Addiction can be hard to live it. It takes everything from you; your health, your good reputation, your relationships, your work. In the end you wind up all alone.

All addicts share common problems. They have distorted perception of reality. The part of the brain that is responsible for pleasure, judgement, decision making, or planning is severely damaged.

And they act and behave according to their belief system. A belief system which is faulty but have come to accept as ‘truths’. They defend themselves with excuses, rationalizations, lies and myths and these keep their addiction in play.

For example, the compulsive cybersex user may rationalize that, cybersex won’t give him STD s or venereal disease.

And the exhibitionist may think she is not hurting anyone by exposing. Or she may gain attention only by exposing. However, not everyone will enjoy the exposurέ, some people may get offended and defensive.

I had this day to forget, recalled Clara. “I was in the elevator with this strange man. Abruptly, he unzipped his shorts and pulled down his pant right before my eyes. I got uncomfortable and turned to my other side

Their impaired way of thinking supports and festers their addiction. The addict believes he is not hurting anyone by his behavior. However, family and friends may suffer seeing their loved one slowly waste away everyday.

Brian is sixteen years old. His dad is separated from his mom. Helen prides herself of working extra hard to keep Brian in school. Her schedule is always hectic that she fails to see that her boy struggles with sexual compulsion.

Brian spends countless hours at midnight behind the computer screen cruising pornographic websites. He is increasingly isolated from his playmates. Nobody knows of his addiction. Like most cybersex addicts, he believes it’s just a game. It’s not real. And he’s not hurting anyone.

During school recession, he’d find a private place to masturbate. He’d vow to stop each time, but after another recession he does it again.

The sexual addict supports his addiction with rationalizations such as;

  • I’m worthless, nobody really cares
  • I can stop whenever I want
  • It’s my way of relaxing
  • my chances of getting STD is zero if I do cybersex
  • I am hurting no one by watching
  • with the stress I’m under, I deserve it
  • I do it because I was sexually abused growing up
  • I use sex to get acceptance and approval
  • cybersex is virtual, it’s not real
  • medical experts say masturbating is healthy
  • I do it to stay out of relationship
  • when I’m depressed, my only way to feel alive is to view nude videos

 

Thanks for reading.

Photo:  Annie Spratt

Featured

How to Prevent Caregiver Burnout

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Are you a family caregiver?

Do you want to balance your care-giving responsibilities and other commitments? OK no problem.

Care-giving can be highly demanding; physically, mentally and emotionally, especially when the care recipient is totally dependent on you.

As a caregiver, you are under a lot of stress. And if you ignore them, they may become chronic and hurt your health.

Learn how to protect your health;

  • Get help

There a lot of generous people all around you who will welcome the prospect of assisting you with your duties, if only you learn how to ask. Ask for help from other family members, friends, care providers and support groups. It becomes much easier when the strain is shared.

  • Take respite break

Professional caregivers enjoy respite programs. They take breaks from caring to spend quality with family and friends. What about the family caregiver? Do you go on holidays?

It will be healthy to take breaks from care-giving duties even if it’s just a week in two months. Step aside, relax and recharge.

  • Plan ahead.

Finances is usually a big worry for many family carers especially when they are earning less. Eventually, your loved one may need more intensive care, cost of treatments will escalate and you will also have to pay for respite care. A good plan can save you some of the distress.

However, there are a number of financial support packages for carers. Find the one you are eligible to and apply.

  • Adapt

Eventually, you will have to accept this phase of your life. You are now a carer, and shouldn’t always respond to your duties as stressful. Continually responding to your role as stressful increases the level of the stress hormone, cortisol in the body. Cortisol primary fight stress and protect your health. However, if it escalates, it can take a toll on your health.

Burnout is serious and can keep you from being a good caregiver for your loved one.

Cut it down!

Image: canva

What Hands Washing Mean for OCD Patients Amid Corona virus Crisis

People with Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder (OCD) have marked unwanted intrusive thoughts ( obsession ) that force them (compulsion ) to perform specific rituals or routines.

They don’t feel “safe” or relieved until they perform rituals. The rituals can include, repeatedly checking that the door is locked because they feel paranoid, and excessively washing of hands because of fear germs

The WHO recommends we routinely wash our hands to control the infection of the virus. Although it’s worth taking some extra precautions to protect yourself, people with OCD may have distressing urge to do more hands washing, just to “feel safe”. Eventually the compulsion will get stronger and their symptoms may get worse

What Can You Do?

If your family member or loved one is suffering from this condition, you may concerned about their increased compulsiveness to hand washing and may even complain about how they use water around the house. Try these tips to help your loved one with OCD

• Most cities are on lockdown, nevertheless, help them keep in touch with their doctor. It could be through the phone or Skype or any other social network system.

• Don’t offer any form of resistance or try to stop them from performing rituals.

• Encourage them to continue taking their medication. Even partial non – compliance could make a big difference on recovery.

• Increase their awareness to the corona virus. The media may have overly exaggerated the nature of the disease. Provide them reliable information from the CDC or WHO

• Keep them away from watching the news. Or simply turn off the news. Watching or hearing updates from the media could bring about unnecessary anxiety.

Memories

Memories are beautiful

They can bring good feelings

They remind us of the day we graduated from college

They remind us of the day we first made love

However, some come as flashbacks that remind us of the unpleasant

We recall some and we feel a strong guilt

Some choke us and we forget how to breathe

Some remind us of the day we froze when we stood in front of the class to speak

Some make us have another episodes of depression. And it may take a while to recover

Some events- happy ones, happened not long ago, they are so very vivid as if they happened yesterday, and we play them over and over in our heads

We’d give everything to experience them again

Some happened a very long time and those memories are a bit hazy

Of course our memory declines with age

We will forget our names. We will find it hard to remember our family

Metaphysics and other theories establish that the mind is so wonderful. It’s capacity is immeasurable. The good news is, you can form new memories and you can delete old memories too

Until you get 70 or your medical report says you have on set Alzheimer’s disease, get out there, be vulnerable, fall in love, forgive your parents, expand your inner circle, do something completely new

Form new memories

Hold on to the fond ones and let go of those that don’t serve you

Boundaries

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“They won’t like the new boundaries you’ve set for yourself because they’ve always benefitted from you having none”.

-Kylie Francis

Many people are in extra commitments and doing more responsibilities than they should be doing because they were not firm to say no. They have no boundaries. They are always responding to the messages, always taking the voluntary roles. They say yes to virtually every request, even if they are in a bad shape themselves.

If you wish to be happier and more fulfilled, you need to erect some fences around yourself. You need boundaries.

Boundaries with work, boundaries with friends, boundaries in marriage, boundaries in dating. You also need to set boundaries on yourself.

Boundaries defines who you are, what you believe, what you like.

Boundary setting helps you to focus on yourself, love yourself and practice self-compassion. It keeps people from coming into your personal space and taking advantage of you.

Most people set boundaries but unsuccessfully observe them. They compromise and retract and say yes, especially if they feel they are hurting those around them. This is a boundary problem.

Apparently not everyone will be impress with your boundaries. Expect some resistance. Some will welcome and respect them, some will feel being cut out and withdraw from you.

The priority, however, should be self-care. Maintain your personal values, focus on self despite what others want.

Remember that boundaries need not to be permanent. You can always go back and change them or completely remove them.

Keep good boundaries and take charge of your life.

Thanks for reading.

Happy Merry Christmas Eve!!

Are You Enabling an Addict?

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Enabling is any activity that encourages the addict to engage or maintain their addiction.

Enabling makes it less easy for the alcoholic to continue drinking, the drug addict to obtain morphine and use, the compulsive gambler to visit the casino, the sex addict to cruise pubs and the compulsive buyer to go on another spending spree.

Enabling can be subtle. For most people, it can take a long time to realize that they unwittingly contribute to their loved one’s addiction.

The enabler try to ‘fix’ the problems that arise from their loved one’s addiction. The addict is protected from the consequences of his action. He’s never made to take full responsibility of his action.

Too often, family members or friend may have good intentions to help their loved addicts, but they could also inadvertently provide them the opportunities to continue their addictive behaviors. For example;

Rebecca, 42, is a single mother. His boy, Sunny, is in college. He uses drugs.

Rebecca had always given him everything he needed. He had plenty of money at school so he would have plenty of time for study.

When he was withdrawn from his first school for allegedly using drugs, his mom did everything she could to get him into another college.

Sunny is in his third college and he continues to use. He is never reprimanded. He doesn’t study or work, yet he has a nice place to live, plenty of money, and all the independence he needed.

Enabling behaviors can include;

  • Covering up or making excuses for the addict. For example, calling their bosses to say they are sick and can’t come to work
  • Helping with the bail of the addict when he’s arrested
  • Taking on the responsibility of the addict. When you perform the task the addict should be doing, you’re enabling
  • Providing him money that allows him to buy alcohol or gamble
  • Pretending not to have noticed the addiction and ignoring they don’t need help
  • Helping to pay off the addict’s debt when he had borrowed money to support his addiction.
  • Keeping alcohol in the house
  • Providing the addict a place to live when he’s been kicked out by his family

Thanks for reading!!

Let’s Talk About Worry

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Worrying is a part of the shared human experience; something we all go through. We worry about the medical report, if we’re gaining weight, if our kid will repeat his class, or if our husband will have a relapse and resume his drinking habit. The worry list keep growing.

We believe that my worrying, we are getting the problem solved. In fact, it doesn’t. Rather, it grows, it consumes us. We can’t stay calm, we lose sleep and can’t concentrate at work or school.

Learn how to better manage your anxieties

Share your worry

Telling a trusted friend or a family member about your worries can be pleasantly relaxing. Asking for a second perspective about your anxiety can help you realize if you have to worry in the first place or you are only exaggerating.

But you can’t tell just anyone. Don’t share your problem with the wrong person, especially if the person is chronic worrier themselves. They will give you reasons to support your fears.

Talk to that friend who will help you try and come up with solutions to tackle the problem.

Create a worry period

When an anxious thought comes to mind during the day, allow yourself to put it off. Tell yourself you will have time to think about it, but not now. Your worry period is a brief time (not more than 30 minutes) you’ll allocate to go over your anxieties.

Postpone your anxiety because even a little worrying thought can ruin your day. Your energy levels or concentration maybe be diverted, disrupting your flow and creativity.

During this period, you get to mull over your anxieties, tackle them and come up with solutions and dismiss such which are only imagined fears.

Trust  God

In fact, the best thing to do amid your anxieties and worries is turn to God. Share your problem with God through prayers or meditating. The outcome is guaranteed, He will offer you the comfort and the peace of mind you need badly.

Find peace in His words like

‘Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

‘Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to life’?

Learn to turn to God and He will tend to your anxieties.

Challenge your worries

Anxiety is own creation. You bring them to life and you allow them to linger by giving them attention and energy. But you can also beat them.

Take your anxieties one by one and challenge them. Ask yourself;

  • Is this problem worth worrying ?
  • What is the probability that what I’m anxious of will actually happen ?
  • I’m I overacting and expecting worst case scenarios ?
  • I’m I to worry in the first place ?
  • Can I control the outcome of the event, if no, you need to stop pressuring yourself, and if yes, what should you be doing instead of worrying

Write down your anxieties

One thing you can also do during the worry period is to write out your worries in a journal or a small sheet of paper.

On a scale of 10, rate your anxieties. Give them numbers. For example, you may give a 5 to a job interview you are anxious about. A 5 out of the 10 because it may be just another interview you need to attend after your last job.

Now, the anxiety is arising because you fear you may not make the final cut but you know you have a lot of job experience. So this shouldn’t cause an alarm. Dismiss it.

Brainstorm the problems that are solvable. Give a 9 or 10 to worries that are so strong and unsolvable and share them with people you trust.

Thanks for reading

Compulsive Buying Disorder

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Do you have that friend or relative that fancy and want to buy every new products on the market, especially online?

They want the fancier cars, nicer clothes and newer technology gadgets. They are not happy with one or two. They want more of everything, more jewelries, more pair of shoes, and more iPad.

When they are depressed, they yearn for something, anything, which would feel their emptiness. And they think spending excessive is the right thing to do.

But when the spree is over, they feel depressed or guilty. And, in order to overcome this guilt and feel better, they resort to spending again.

The compulsive buyer is constantly preoccupied with shopping and this cause significant distress, interfering their relationships and other areas of their life. They deplete their credit cards, accumulate substantial debts and eventually go bankruptcy.

We all make excessive spending.

But not everyone who spends lot of money and time shopping have this condition. For example, some people may spend lot of money during big life events such as birthdays, marriages, graduations or holidays.

A bipolar person has mood disorder and will exhibit such impulsive buying during the manic episode. Unlike the compulsive shopper who feels guilty and would like to hide his or her behavior after the spree, the manic person who may boast about his or her spending and try to convince family or friends that his purchase was necessary.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms are usually obvious. But the person may deny out of embarrassment or disappointment. This present a major setback for health professional to make appropriate diagnose and make future interventions. The symptoms include;

  • Frequent occupation with buying, which is time consuming
  • Shopping for longer period of time than intended
  • Obsessions with shopping that is intrusive and irresistible
  • Frequent buying of items that are not needed
  • Spending too much than you can afford

Treatment

The impulsive shopper may have existing problems of substance or alcohol abuse, depression or bipolar disorder. A combination of medication and psychotherapy, mainly cognitive behavioral therapy CBT and talk therapy may prove useful to overcome this addiction.

Medications such SSRI’s and antidepressants help stabilize mood.

CBT and talk therapy help reconstruct thoughts such as “having the latest fashions will make me more popular” or “having 5 pair of new shoes will make me a happier and better person”.

Thanks for reading!

Image: Canva

Resource: Delphi Psychiatry Journal Vol 12 No. 1