Hypersexuality is a common, but rarely talked about, symptom of bipolar disorder. Nevertheless, it is vital that you adopt proactive strategies to help you control its impulsive urges. Here are a few to get you started:
#1 Limit your triggers
Hypersexual behavior is often a warning sign of a manic episode, but keeping bipolar disorder managed with meds and therapy can help. Be sure to pay attention to and recognize any triggers or symptoms, including those concerning sexual behavior. Once you are aware of these, you can communicate them to your partner or a friend so that he or she can keep an eye out for such red flags.
#2 Treat the disorder
When bipolar disorder is not being treated effectively, the person’s sex life can become unstable. By treating the bipolar symptoms and getting hypomania and mania under control, this will often help manage hypersexuality as well. Treatments may involve medications such as mood stabilizers or antipsychotics and cognitive-behavioral therapy and family counseling.
#3 Look at medications
Medication often plays a key role in hypersexual disorder treatment. Some medications may help reduce compulsive behaviors and obsessive thoughts; others may target specific hormones associated with sex addiction or reduce accompanying symptoms such as depression or anxiety.
#4 Communication is key
Since high-risk sexual behavior can include having sex with more than one partner, it’s crucial that couples discuss openly the impact that bipolar disorder may have on their sex life. This open dialogue can help reduce negative consequences, including unplanned pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases.
#5 Consider sex therapy
Getting help from a therapist in addition to medical care is important for the patient and the partner in order to resolve sex-related issues in the relationship. Sex addiction treatment could involve some combination of couples therapy, psychotherapy, family therapy and support groups.
#6 Physical activity
As part of her treatment for bipolar hypersexuality, that includes medication and psychotherapy, Olympic runner Suzy Favor Hamilton relies on lots of physical activity. She participates in everything from yoga to cycling to hiking to intense cross-training. “I still need the ‘pain’ of working out to feel good,’’ she says. “But I’ve found other outlets. Intense exercise definitely is great therapy for me.”
#7 Don’t put it off
Many people can feel shame or humiliation in seeking help for hypersexuality and sex addiction. Unfortunately, medical professionals may seem awkward in talking about this as well. If you are unable to control your sex drive or treat these hypersexuality symptoms on your own, it’s crucial that you don’t put off getting help, especially if it’s hurting your relationships.
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