How Can Addiction Be Detrimental to My Sexual Health?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Impulsivity is strongly connected to substance use disorders (SUDs). Having a tendency toward impulsivity makes clients vulnerable to the consequences of their unplanned actions. Due to the strong connection between impulsivity and addiction, those coping with addiction may engage in risky behaviors that place their lives and health in danger. This includes engaging in risky sexual behaviors that can compromise their sexual health.

Healing from addiction is important. Beyond just recovering from addiction, though, creating a well-balanced, healthy life is important. Part of creating a healthy life is practicing and maintaining healthy behaviors. Controlling impulsivity helps clients return to a state of homeostasis and ease within their bodies. At First Steps Recovery, healing from all elements of addiction is prioritized. This includes healing from impulsivity by engaging in helpful therapies.

How Are Impulsivity and Addiction Related?

Impulsivity and addiction are related behaviorally and neurobiologically. Acting on impulsivity provides a person with instant gratification. The brain and body then adapt to this, leading the person to continue to act on these impulses. Individuals feel that because they are experiencing this instant gratification they are being rewarded, which leads to acting impulsively more frequently.

These impulsive behaviors can be very dangerous for one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. When clients suffer from addiction, they commonly suffer from a lack of self-control. Sometimes impulsivity and a lack of self-control exist before developing an addiction. For some clients, their addiction leads to impulsivity as they lose their sense of self and therefore struggle with self-control. Unfortunately, impulsivity leaves clients vulnerable to a host of unwanted consequences.

As the impulse toward addictive activities persists, clients may find themselves increasingly driven by addictive substances. Their activities will likely revolve exclusively around drugs or alcohol and put them in dangerous situations. These situations may involve an attempt to obtain the substance or just involve using them. Impulsivity is also a dangerous trait in post-treatment as clients who act impulsively are more susceptible to relapse. Therefore, it is important to address the connection between impulsivity and addiction and understand how impulsive behaviors are detrimental to one’s health.

Impulsivity as a Risk to Sexual Health

Linked to both addiction and impulsivity is sexual health. When addressing clients’ impulsivity, First Steps Recovery ensures that sexual health is considered too. Clients may struggle with self-worth and self-control in sexual situations. When these two things are put together with addiction and impulsive tendencies, engaging in risky sexual behaviors is more likely. This behavior can lead to developing sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially when one is coping with an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Impulsive tendencies may lead to unsafe sex with multiple partners, failing to use protection, and/or having sexual relations with people who may have diseases or infections. Impulsivity that leads to risky sexual behaviors can then detrimentally impact one’s relationships. These behaviors may lead to cheating and/or spreading STIs to their partner. This can damage relationships, causing additional strain on one’s life.

All of the aforementioned consequences illustrate the importance of finding healing and recovery from addiction. However, it is equally important to learn about and practice healthy behaviors that dull one’s impulsivity and desire to complete dangerous tasks. This is important not only for the clients themselves but for the people around them.

Practicing Healthy Behaviors to Improve Addiction and Sexual Health at First Steps Recovery

Helping clients create satisfying lives without the restraints of addiction or mental health conditions is the primary goal of First Steps Recovery. Part of creating this kind of life is learning about and practicing healthy behaviors, including being mindful of one’s sexual health. There are many ways First Steps Recovery helps with these goals. Clients are offered a combination of clinical and holistic therapies so that they can work on skills that relate to their core issues.

Many holistic and clinical options are available for clients. However, it is important to incorporate therapies that address specific underlying issues or effects of addiction. For clients struggling with impulsivity, talk therapies combined with holistic therapies that improve self-control can be most productive.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy at First Steps Recovery

One type of therapy that focuses on the connection between one’s thoughts and behaviors is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). At First Steps Recovery, CBT helps clients discover how negative thought patterns yield negative behaviors. For those coping with impulsivity and trying to learn and practice more patience and peace without giving in to temptations, CBT can help.

One way CBT helps is by giving clients a chance to meditate on their thoughts. Impulsivity often arises when clients do not take time to think about their actions and their actions’ consequences. CBT helps clients focus on their thoughts, shift them into more positive thoughts, and make healthy, productive decisions.

Mindfulness and Meditation at First Steps Recovery

Holistic therapies that invite mindfulness and peace into one’s life are also key to helping people cope with impulsivity. Mindfulness therapy at First Steps Recovery helps clients identify and evaluate different aspects of themselves in a calming environment. Clients practice intention, attention, and attitude to improve destructive thoughts and behaviors.

Through cultivating present-moment awareness, those struggling with impulsivity ultimately learn greater self-control. Soon this strengthened self-control helps them make better decisions when they are faced with impulsive urges. This includes risky sexual behaviors and drug or alcohol misuse.

Here at First Steps Recovery, we work with clients to create healthy, happy, and productive lives. Sometimes clients struggle with impulsivity or self-control issues related to their addiction. This can lead to destructive, thoughtless behaviors. Sometimes these behaviors also include risky sexual behaviors. Clients then put themselves at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections or damaging their previously existing relationships. To improve one’s impulsivity, we offer a combination of clinical and holistic therapies. This includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness therapy. The combination of these therapies gives clients the opportunity to invite peace and good decision-making into their lives. For more information about impulsivity and healing, please call First Steps Recovery at (844) 489-0836.

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