What Is It About Those Who Have Sexual Addiction Which Make It Difficult For Those Who Love The Sexual Addict? Part IX

 Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

“Achieve success in any area of life by identifying the optimum strategies and repeating them until they become habits.”
                                                                                                                        Charles J. Givens

Building habits is a very difficult thing to do especially for people who do not have the will power to stick with things. In most people’s lives going to work out, walking, running, eating right, and other types of healthy behaviors and practices make it difficult to make the right thing a habit.
Frontal section of brain
Frontal section of brain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In creating “Habits Anytime” the theory is based on the fact that most individuals can begin tasks hoping to accomplish a goal such as going on a diet to lose weight. Most people last about three days before they find out that the attempt of making the new diet a habit is just too difficult and not much fun.

The brain has its function of how the habit is formed and then developed where the individual has the ability to make a difference. The sexual addict has great difficulty in forming habits because the pleasure of a sexual act is so over powering they can’t continue to be sexually sober.

So how does the basal ganglia and dopamine battle to one of them becoming a winner? As stated the goal of the individual is to stop succumbing to the sexual desires, urges, images, and fantasies. Let us examine what the experts tell us about the basal ganglia and dopamine and may the answer will become apparent.

Rather, the output of the basal ganglia provides the gating function of stabilization against noise and distraction by enhancing select memories through targeted disinhibition of cortex. Dopamine in the basal ganglia effectively locks this gate by influencing the stability of up and down states in the striatum. Dopamine’s involvement in affective processing endows this gating with specificity to motivational salience. We model a spatial working memory task and show that these combined effects of dopamine lead to superior performance. (Wikipedia, 2012)

Connectivity Diagram showing glutamatergic pat...
Connectivity Diagram showing glutamatergic pathways as red, dopaminergic as magenta and GABA pathways as blue. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A separate parallel literature in systems neuroscience has emerged, indicating a role for
the basal ganglia and related dopamine inputs in reward prediction and feedback processing (Fiorillo et al., 2003; Hollerman and Schultz, 1998; Schultz, 1998; Schultz et al., 1997).

Dopamine and basal ganglia work together and in doing so habits are formulated in the mind. The body and mind work together so you don’t have to think about doing something, it happens.

The struggles some individuals have is because their mind and body separated somewhere along their lifetime. Muhammed Ali probably one of the best Heavyweights of all times became ill with Parkinson’s disease. Basal ganglia and dopamine play a significant role in the Parkinson’s disease. The neurotransmitters which work with the thalamus just don’t talk to one another and then the disease becomes deadly. 

Actor Michael J. Fox suffers from the same disease. He has had several brain surgeries in trying to connect the brain working inside his body. To date he is struggling, but he is alive.

The issues surrounding how the mind and body work is still in the early stages. Scientists know why things don’t work and why they happen, but they have yet to come up with the formula to correct it. Little by little those who have dedicated their lives to finding the answers will eventually be successful.

In the
 meantime, mental health professionals need to evaluate and examine their clients for the signs of damage to the basal ganglia. Some of these are:

Conditions that cause injury to the brain can damage the basal ganglia. Such conditions include:
Many brain disorders are associated with basal ganglia dysfunction. They include:
This list may not be all-inclusive. (MedlinePlus, 2012)
The reason why individuals cannot create habits is because they may suffer from one of the above brain injuries, damage or illnesses.  Such conditions do exist in many individuals to the degree that many suffer from strokes when blood is blocked to the basal ganglia.
Vector image of the basal ganglia.
Vector image of the basal ganglia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Trying to have the sexual addict stop the sexual acting out may be a difficult tasks if the mental health professional determines if in deed the sexual addict has one of the above serious injuries.  At this juncture the mental health professional would best be advised to refer their client to a neurologist who specializes in brain injuries.
Tomorrow, the habits of a sexual addict can’t form into something significant if there is a block due to other addictions i.e. drugs or alcohol, a disease, stroke and so forth. It is important to educate mental health practitioners about how sexual addiction is affecting their client’s lives and the reasons for what appears to be a lack of commitment. The search will continue to try and find how a sexual addict moves from a life of anxiety, compulsion and obsessive thoughts and how they may be able to overcome these symptoms.

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