Nunnelly, TN (PRWEB) December 20, 2011 – For many people, the holidays are the highlight of the year. But for others, this time of year brings up emotions that can be difficult to manage. Faced with the feelings of loneliness and disappointment that sometimes accompany the holidays, men and women with love and sex addictions may feel more compelled to escape or act out, warn the sex addiction specialists at The Ranch rehabilitation center in Tennessee.
Holiday movies and songs depict the holidays as a time for being surrounded by loved ones. Individuals with sex and love addictions may feel a particularly strong longing to be connected with others or to be in a relationship, not necessarily for love but to avoid being alone. Romanticized visions of a kiss to ring in the New Year or receiving the perfect holiday gift from a love interest – which often are not played out in reality – can prompt reckless and harmful behaviors in those with sex and love addictions.
“The holidays can bring up unforeseen emotions that leave people feeling ‘less than,’” said Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S, the internationally known author, addiction specialist and educator who developed the men’s and women’s relationship and sex addiction programs at The Ranch. “As a result, those with addictions or emotional challenges may seek out a person or experience that makes them feel special, important and valued.”
As the holidays approach, people look forward to the break from routine and the time off school or work to finish projects and visit friends and family. But for addicts, unstructured time, particularly when spent alone, can be a trigger of its own. Rather than using the extra time constructively, sex and love addicts may become increasingly anxious. In a misguided effort to get their emotional needs met, they may begin fantasizing about and executing plans to fill their down time with anonymous hook-ups, affairs, serial dating and other harmful behaviors.
“Around this time of year, some sex and love addicts are faced with a dangerous combination of an urge to escape and more opportunities to engage in risky behaviors,” Weiss explained. “Heightened emotions, family dynamics and other factors make it a stressful time, which can be further complicated by an increase in unstructured free time.”
In addition to being a season for giving, the holidays are a season for receiving. Diets, budgets and rules get set aside just long enough to indulge in decadent treats, gift-buying and holiday parties.
“Normal reality is suspended during the holidays,” said Weiss. “While most people use this time to indulge on food, spending and parties, sex and love addicts may feel entitled to indulge in a different way – one that includes compulsive sexual experiences, affairs, online hookups and other risky behaviors.”
In many ways, the holidays are the best time to get help for sex and love addiction. Rather than allowing loneliness, isolation and disappointment to prevail, which can escalate unhealthy behaviors, treatment grants a reprieve from holiday stresses so that sex and love addicts can focus on getting well.
“We know the holidays are a time when addictive and compulsive behaviors escalate. When reflecting on the past year, many people realize that they have wanted and needed to get help for some time,” said Weiss. “There is no better time to begin sex or love addiction treatment and no better gift than to be in a safe place receiving help and support.”