Bipolar disorder is one of the most common mood disorders in the world, affecting millions of people each year. This common disorder is also very complex and can produce a wide range of side effects that can contribute to the development of additional disorders and addictions.
Can Bipolar Disorder Cause Sex Addiction?
Episodes of mania or hypomania are common in some types of bipolar disorder. Mania is considered a period of intense, over-active behavior that creates a number of residual side effects, while hypomania does the same but only on a smaller scale. Both hypomania and mania can play a vital role in the development of sex addiction in the following ways:
- Increased hypersexuality – Hypersexuality is a common symptom of hypomania/mania in bipolar disorder and causes individuals to experience lowered inhibitions that play into their desire to engage in sexual acts with either themselves or others. If hypomanic symptoms are not controlled, hypersexuality can become excessive to the extent that the individual becomes constantly sexually active.
- Heightened confidence – Another major symptom of bipolar hypomania/mania is a heightened sense of self. This increased confidence can create egotistical and boisterous behavior, which can be reinforced through the participation in sexual activities.
- No fear of consequences – Most individuals who experience hypomania often find that during this period of time, they are not concerned with the consequences of their actions. This, coupled with their increased hypersexuality, can lead to sexual binges and dangerous sexual encounters that can harm them physically, as well as harm their significant others emotionally.1
These side effects of bipolar disorder can propel sufferers into a cycle of addiction.
Treatment for Bipolar Disorder and Sex Addiction
Many individuals who have bipolar disorder often find themselves struggling with one or more co-morbid issues that impact their daily life. For some, that issue is sex addiction.
It’s important to note that sex addiction is a symptom of bipolar disorder. Trying to treat one issue without addressing the other dramatically decreases the likelihood of successful recovery.
- Mood-stabilizing medications
- Antipsychotic medications
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Other forms of therapy and counseling that may include family members
- Electroconvulsive therapy, also called “shock therapy” because small electrical waves are used2
By getting treatment for bipolar disorder, those who struggle can learn to live with the disorder in ways that do not interrupt their everyday lives. Adapting new skills that help curb their increased sexual desires as well as addressing additional issues pertaining to both their bipolar disorder and their associated sex addiction help those struggling maintain a more balanced and normal life.
Finding Help for Bipolar Disorder or Sex Addiction
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1 “Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder.” International Bipolar Foundation. Accessed Oct. 2, 2018.
2 “Bipolar Disorder: When Sexuality Is in Overdrive.” EverydayHealth.com, Everyday Health, 30 Apr. 2018.