Love addiction, like sex addiction, is not a well-known addiction, and many people find it difficult to understand that it is possible to be addicted to love or sex. As with any addiction, love addiction stems from feelings of pain and neglect (real or imagined). The love addict usually experienced a sense of abandonment by a primary caregiver in their past, and now they project their love feelings on a person who they deem to be someone who can take care of them, solve their problems and are far more important than they, themselves, are.
How Does Love Addiction Present?
One of the most prominent symptoms of love addiction is that the addict progressively loses his/her self-care ability. He or she spends all their time and energy in ‘taking care of’ the object of their obsession. Love addiction is often also not related to a romantic or sexual relationship. People can be addicts to people they do not know or have never even met, such as a celebrity.
Usually, when the love addict is not in a relationship, their self-care abilities return, and they start looking after themselves successfully. It is only when they fall into a relationship again that they start neglecting their own personal needs and focus solely on the object of their addiction.
How Is Love Addiction Treated?
Alexandra Katehakis writes, “As with any addiction, recovery from love addiction is a process of self-discovery. It requires taking specific steps: breaking through denial and acknowledging the addiction; owning the harmful consequences of the addiction; and intervening to stop the addictive cycle from occurring.”
This means that the addict will have to embark on a professionally designed treatment programme with a therapist who is trained and skilled in treating sex as well as love addictions. The therapist will need to be able to handle the various stages of grief that the addict will have to go through in order to break the addiction-relationship. Together, the addict and the therapist will need to work on a strategy to help the addict build self-esteem and self-confidence. This, in turn, will lead to behaviour changes that may help the addict engage in healthy relationships. As with any addiction, recovery from love addiction is a long-term, ongoing process.
Where Can You Get Help?
Recovery Lighthouse has therapists and counsellors specifically trained to deal with love and sex addiction and the unique issues and challenges that these addicts face on a daily basis. Help is but a phone call away. Recovery starts with admitting that you have a problem, with the next step being to pick up the phone and call a professional to get the help you need. We are skilled and experienced in the fields of love and sex addiction, and your best interest is our only priority. If you think you have a problem, it is time to discuss it with a professional. There is no shame in admitting you have an addiction; addiction is an illness and, like any illness, can be treated.