Sex Addiction, Love Addiction and Co-dependency Explained

In recent years, there has been an increasing degree of awareness and understanding of many mental illnesses, but some compulsive disorders are still shrouded in rumours and misinformation.

Sex addiction, love addiction and co-dependency are probably the three most misunderstood mental illnesses. People who suffer from these afflictions are often seen as weak, deviant and may even be seen as some sort of amoral monster. This could not be further from the truth. Most people living with sex addiction, love addiction or co-dependency are perfectly nice people struggling with a real mental illness.

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Love Addiction - Still Misunderstood

Love addiction lacks a high profile in society, but this does not mean that it is any less damaging to its sufferers. Only now is awareness beginning to grow about this crippling behavioral affliction. Hopefully this new awareness will help those suffering in silence to come forward to seek help.It was only last year that major newspapers and radio programmes started to address love addiction. Before that, many people were skeptical about whether you could be ‘addicted’ to love. The skeptics suggested that we simply struggle differently both in and out of relationships. Indeed, it’s good to know that we all have different coping methods and means of healing ourselves, but some of us need a little help. The large numbers of people seeking this help is clear, and evidence that love addiction is very much a real problem.

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Does drama drive your relationships… are you a love addict?

Love addictionWhat is being addicted to love? Is it all about joy, sensuality and happiness? A clinical love addiction is actually something quite different. This article explores this in more detail and offers an opportunity for love addicts to realise that recovery is achievable.

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The shame about sex addiction

Sex addiction is not glamorous, it's filled with shameThe consequences of sex addiction can be traumatic for both the perpetrator and those associated with them. Whatever the underlying cause of the addiction is recovery is achievable though.

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Do you need others’ love or approval in order to feel okay?

Needing approval and loveFor most, the answer to this question is yes. Of course we all crave a sense of validation and the love of others. Those are human needs. However, where the need for others’ love and approval becomes the sole criteria for our own sense of self worth, we cross the line between a healthy need and an addiction to love and approval. While love addiction is not yet a formally recognized addiction, love and approval addiction is arguably far more prevalent than any other substance or process addiction. One might say that we live in a love and approval addicted society.

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Love and Addiction

Sleeping beauty - A love addict in waiting?As with any addiction, the addiction to love serves to remove those intolerable aspects of reality via certain obsessive-compulsive experiences. The obsessions in this instance are about the person with whom the love addict is infatuated – endlessly preoccupied with the other person.

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Love Addiction: When people love too much

love addiction

Love addiction is a confusing term, as love is what all healthy relationships should be built on. However the behavioural issue is very real and very damaging to those that suffer, where the distinct lack of self-worth holds sufferers in potentially abusive relationships.

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Can you be addicted to love?

Addicted to love

For the majority of people, the word "love" represents a feeling of warmth and closeness; often, it invokes the ideas of family, home, comfort, and security. It can be difficult to understand how someone can become addicted to love, and what a love addiction is, precisely. When someone falls in love, there is an initial rush of intense feelings: the other person fills their thoughts, they spend periods of time daydreaming, they recall pleasant memories of the loved one over and over. In a healthy relationship, this encourages the evolution of the couple's bond by retaining their interest in and fondness for one another while true intimacy and a lasting love evolves.

For a love addict, they feel a distinct need to constantly be enveloped in those intense feelings and crave an instant connection with their beloved. Often, they are seeking "the One" who will make them feel utterly complete. They may rapidly go through sequential relationships, never knowing what their true needs are, and placing increasing demands on their lovers to fulfil the wants they have conflated with their needs. Their addiction to love is often combined with other obsessive behaviours and risk taking. Eventually, things will crumble around them and they will be left amidst the rubble of broken relationships and broken hearts. Many love addicts have very low self-esteem and they only experience feelings of self-worth inside of a relationship. They may have experienced childhood neglect, abuse, and rejection and think that they can only be considered "good" if someone loves them. This sort of relationship becomes codependent almost immediately, and the addict can seem to begin disappearing into their partner, shedding their personality and anything they feel sets them apart from their lover, in search of a deeper connection. Their depression, anxiety, and fear of abandonment creates erratic behaviours, and the inability to create the "perfect" relationship or be the "perfect" lover can cause them to question their core beliefs or their lives. They are also at risk of attaching to an abuser because they fear what will happen if that person ceases to "love" them -- their terror at being alone is greater than any fear that happens within the relationship. When things begin to fall apart for anyone suffering from an addiction, they can enter a very dangerous mindset or state in which they may be harmful to themselves or to others. It is crucial that they receive help before they slip farther down the spiral. If help is sought with Life Works, a healing plan will be created that includes treating any medical, psychiatric, and psychological issues, and working carefully together to uncover the true reasons for compulsive behaviours and why the person with the addiction feels so empty, and why they must fill themselves with the approval and love of others. Focus is placed on new, healthy coping strategies, and helping the patient create positive relationships and friendships with others. They are also taught how to find value and completeness in themselves.