Mid-Life & Retirement Transitions

Addictions

Addictions can come in many forms, but they all involve behaviors that activate the pleasure center of the brain. While engaging in addictive behaviors, chemicals released in the brain give an individual a sense of excitement, well-being, numbing, escape or relief from emotional pain. Whether it is alcohol, drugs, gambling, spending money, sex, food or stealing, each addiction has the common effect of altering mood. The biochemistry coupled with the repetitive behavior, rationalizations, and emotive qualities (e.g., anger, euphoria) reinforces the addiction. At The Men’s Center, we can assist you in evaluating and treating your addictive behavior. We will support you in the process of recovery by identifying your triggers and motivation and developing healthier lifestyles that are more rewarding.

Gambling Addiction

Placing monetary bets on sporting events, lottery tickets, playing the card tables at a casino or feeding the slot machines can become problematic for some people. They find themselves caught in the cycle of magical thinking that they will be able to beat the odds and that their next bet will be a big win and rescue them from their financial or emotional situation. Persons addicted to gambling will hide it from family and friends, spending amounts of money that they do not have to spend or that should be used to pay for other needs. Problematic gambling in women is closely related to grief and depression.

Internet Addiction

Spending 4 or more hours on the internet per 24 hours is considered one of the many indicators of possible internet addiction. Surfing the net for the purpose of spending money, gambling, porn, chat room activity, or predatory behavior are all examples of how internet addiction presents itself in a destructive manner. In addition, use of the internet to socialize or interact with others to the exclusion of your responsibilities or family involvement is problematic behavior that can indicate an addiction to the internet.

Learn more with our Internet Addiction Self-Assessment Tool.

Sex Addiction

Sexual addiction is any sexually-related behavior that disrupts your life or causes severe stress on you, your family, friends or work environment. It is common for someone with a sexual addiction to place a priority on sexual activities over other aspects of their life and to the extent that it dominates the person’s life. Like other addictions, sexual addiction makes people willing to sacrifice every other part of their life in order to continue their unhealthy behavior. Sexual addiction can take many different forms, including: compulsive masturbation, compulsive sexual relationships, pornography, prostitution, exhibitionism, voyeurism, indecent phone calls, and frottage, as well as other forms of sexual violence.

Patterns and Examples of Sexual Addictions*

  • Fantasy Sex: neglecting commitments because of fantasy life, masturbation
  • Seductive Role Sex: extramarital affairs (heterosexual or homosexual), flirting and seductive behavior
  • Anonymous Sex: engaging in sex with anonymous partners, having one night stands
  • Paying for Sex: paying prostitutes for sex, paying for sexually explicit phone calls
  • Trading Sex: receiving money or drugs for sex
  • Voyeuristic Sex: patronizing adult bookstores and strip shows, looking through windows of houses, having a collection of pornography at home or work
  • Exhibitionist Sex: exposing oneself in public places or from the home or car, wearing clothes designed to expose
  • Intrusive Sex: touching others without permission, using position of power to sexually exploit another person, rape
  • Pain Exchange: causing or receiving pain to enhance sexual pleasure
  • Object Sex: masturbating with objects, cross dressing to add to sexual pleasure, using fetishes as part of sexual rituals, having sex with animals
  • Sex with Children: forcing sexual activity on a child, watching child pornography.
*Note: excerpt from article by Jennifer P. Schneider, MD, PhD – “Asking the Right Questions May Uncover Serious Problems”. Vol. 90/No. 6/ November 1, 1991 / Postgraduate Medicine – Sexual Addiction. The author was discussing the work of Patrick Carnes, PhD.

Learn more by visiting the SASH Web site, The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health

Learn more by taking the Heterosexual Male Sexual Addiction Screening Test by SASH

Learn more by taking the Gay Men Sexual Addiction Screening Test by SASH

Learn more by reading the Cybersex Addiction Checklist by SASH

Learn more by reading an article on Women and Sex Addiction by Patrick J. Carnes, PhD

Learn More

The Men’s Center welcomes people of all backgrounds. If you have questions or comments about our services, or if you want to learn more about how The Men’s Center can help you or someone close to you, please contact us.

Please note that the links to outside resources are for information only. The Men’s Center has not prepared or authored the items referenced in those, and takes no responsibilities for the content thereof.

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