Love addiction is a condition in which a person becomes dependent on the feeling of being in love. The International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals estimates that 3 to 6 percent of all people suffer from some type of sexual dependency.
The treatment for love addiction is generally similar to that used for other forms of addictive behavior such as alcoholism, among which are meetings, support groups, and other forms of professional treatment (e.g., psychotherapy).
“A Hungarian psychoanalyst is believed to have coined the term “love addict” in 1928.”
A Hungarian psychoanalyst is believed to have coined the term “love addict” in 1928. However, love addiction is not classified as a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5).
In this book, ‘Love and Addiction,’ Stanton Peele suggests the notion that the feeling of love is actually the opposite of addiction. He proposes that we are more inclined to engage in addictive behavior-whether it is drinking, eating, or playing video games-when we feel separated from feelings of love. In other words, we become attached to other things (e.g., alcohol, chocolate) when we don’t have a fulfilling attachment to others (or ourselves). Thus, relationships with ourself, others, nature, our careers, etc., are important for preventing and rehabilitating addiction.
From this perspective, saying someone is a “love addict” might be saying that they strongly crave connection—a fundamental human need—but have a very, very difficult time coping (and maybe fall apart) when that is not present. Thus, they need to feel “in love” all of the time, otherwise they would feel empty.
Symptoms of Addiction to Love
Love addicts persistently chase the feeling of being in love. This pursuit is similar to an addict going after their target of choice, such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, or sex. Love addicts might be driven by the hope that their target will complete them, once and for all.
A love addiction is typically contingent upon a persistent attempt to fulfill some emotional need, although it may not be a conscious one. Love addicts obtain a feeling of intoxication or euphoria when they feel they are in love, just like the rest of us; however, they may seek out this feeling to a greater and potentially unhealthy degree.
At some point, love addicts usually fail to achieve this sense of satisfaction, which increases their need for being in love. This self-defeating spiral may continue until they drive away the person they love. They may also be unable to establish true emotional bonds with other people, preventing them from establishing stable long-term relationships. If you wish to obtain a healthier lifestyle, call 1-888-319-2606 Who Answers? to find a love rehab and recovery facility in your area.
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) is an organization founded in 1976 to help love addicts. SLAA’s membership was estimated to be 16,000 in late 2012.
Love rehab centers provide the following types of treatment:
- Residential treatment
- 12-step programs
- Psychological counseling
- Outpatient centers
- Intensive outpatient treatment
requires a love addict to live at the treatment facility. This arrangement provides patients with a controlled environment that allows them to dedicate themselves to their recovery. The specific types of therapy available in a residential treatment center vary greatly and typically include psychological counseling, life training, educational training, and recreation. Inpatient programs typically last for 1-3 months.
A 12-step program for love addicts is similar to the other 12-step programs used to treat addictive behavior. The first 12-step program was developed to treat alcoholism, and other programs are created by modifying this base model as needed for each particular addiction. A 12-step program is open to any love addict who wants treatment. These programs rely heavily on meetings in which addicts talk to each other. These meetings are traditionally done in person, but 12-step programs also support communication between patients over the phone and online.
Psychological counseling for love addicts may include a range of specific methodologies. Behavioral therapy is generally the most common form of psychological counseling, which requires the therapist to have formal training in psychology or psychiatry. Counseling is often done on an individual basis and addresses underlying psychological issues. Counseling is often part of a residential treatment program.
Outpatient centers for love addiction allow patients to live at home, requiring them to return to the center as needed to attend therapy sessions. The sessions in these centers typically include 12-step programs and individual counseling. An outpatient center may also provide support groups for family members of love addicts. Major hospitals frequently offer outpatient treatment for many types of addicts.
Intensive outpatient programs typically consist of multiple sessions each day, although the patient still goes home at night. This type of program for love addicts allows the patient to undergo treatment quickly without the expense of a residential program. Call us today at 1-888-319-2606 Who Answers? if you need help with finding a love recovery program near you.
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