People with Bipolar Disorder Show Sex Addiction Traits

Posted on June 12th, 2013

Bipolar disorder and sex addiction – experts are learning more about the connections and symptoms of these two complex disorders. The connections and crossovers may be more prevalent than currently believed.

Commonly referred to as “hypersexuality,” many individuals with bipolar disorder may see a crossover diagnosis of sex addiction, and vice versa. A recent article suggests that as many as one-fourth to more than three-fourths of individuals with bipolar disorder may also have sexual addiction, or symptoms of hypersexual behavior.

When a person living with bipolar disorder enters the mania phase, they may show signs of acting out on a highly impulsive scale. This can range from excessive social behavior, compulsive gambling, spending, eating, drinking or sex. If a period of mania does involve compulsive and inflated ideas toward sex, the symptoms can be very similar to those of individuals living with sex addiction.

While a person living with sex addiction may live with these symptoms for months or years, a person with bipolar disorder may exhibit these symptoms during periods of  mania – only to face strong feelings of anger, guilt, shame or depression when the mania has passed. However, one difference related to sexually compulsive behavior during a state of mania is that the person may feel nothing can harm them, that the behavior won’t be dangerous, and may also experience stronger than usual sensations or emotions if bipolar disorder is present.

Because sexual addiction is often the outcome of a person trying to calm or avoid negative emotions and feelings, experts believe many with mental health problems like bipolar disorder may use sex like some would use substances or alcohol. Many times, people with sexual addiction have long-held emotional intimacy and self-esteem problems, which can also be magnified when people live with the challenges bipolar disorder brings.

Both diseases are complex and require professional help and treatment for recovery. With proper assessment, diagnosis and treatment strategies, many people with bipolar disorder and sexual addiction can lead productive, high-quality lifestyles.

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