Intimacy disorders are an often misunderstood category of behavioral and mental health issues that includes the following:
- Sex addiction
- Relationship addiction
- Love addiction
When discussed in terms of interpersonal relationships, intimacy can occur on cognitive, experiential, emotional, and sexual levels. Cognitive intimacy can develop between people who find pleasure and/or meaning in the exchange of ideas, the discussion of issues or events, and the healthy debate over differing opinions. Experiential intimacy can occur when individuals engage in a shared activity, such as a sport, a job, or a hobby. Emotional intimacy involves the exchange of feelings, empathy, and understanding. Sexual intimacy occurs via pleasurable physical interactions.
Relationships between friends, professional colleagues, and family members may be based upon cognitive, experiential, and/or emotional intimacy, while ideal romantic relationships will involve all four types.
Unfortunately, many people whose lives have been disrupted by addiction, trauma, depression, and other mental and/or behavioral health issues also struggle with co-occurring intimacy disorders.
In general terms, individuals who experience co-occurring sex, relationship, and/or love addiction have problems related to the development, maintenance, and expression of appropriate types and levels of intimacy. For example, a co-occurring sex addiction may involve engaging in destructive, degrading, or otherwise dangerous sexual behaviors, not as a means of experiencing intimacy or enhancing an interpersonal relationship, but in a compulsive manner or as a misguided attempt to numb oneself to psychological pain related to trauma, depression, or another mental health disorder.
In cases of a co-occurring love and relationship addiction, the initial attraction to another person or a compulsion to be part of a couple takes precedence over developing the meaningful intimacies that are the essential components of a healthy relationship.
For those with a co-occurring love addiction, the anticipation and profound hopefulness of initial attraction may create a “high” similar to what a drug addict or alcohol feels when using or drinking – while the actual day-to-day experience of participating in a healthy relationship may offer neither enjoyment nor enticement.
Conversely, relationship addicts may allow their fantasies of being loved and their fears of being abandoned to trap them in a pattern of exploitative, abusive, or otherwise unhealthy couplings.
It is far from uncommon for co-occurring sex, love, and relationship addictions to exist as co-occurring disorders among men and women who are suffering from trauma, addiction, and other types of primary mood or mental health diagnoses. Individuals who struggle with these issues, as well as a co-occurring intimacy disorder, can benefit greatly from receiving treatment at a rehab center such as Life Healing Center.
At Life Healing Center, we are uniquely prepared to treat co-occurring intimacy disorders that exist alongside primary mood or mental health disorders, addictions, and/or trauma.
Our rehab center in Santa Fe, New Mexico (near Albuquerque), is fully equipped to provide the comprehensive rehab services that will not only alleviate the symptoms of sex, love, and relationship addiction, but will also identify and address the underlying issues and co-occurring disorders that led to or were exacerbated by the development of these problematic compulsive behaviors.
To learn more about how rehab at Life Healing Center can help you or your loved one to overcome addiction, trauma, other primary diagnoses, and a co-occurring intimacy disorder, please do not hesitate to contact us at your convenience. A friendly and knowledgeable member of our team is available to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We look forward to answering all of your questions and helping you decide if Life Healing Center is the perfect place for you or your loved one.