Health And Addictions

Health and Self-Image

Sometimes, health and addictions can become intertwined. What starts out as a behavior that is healthy but, becomes obsessive and interferes with your life responsibilities, it is a problem. Healthy goals such as weight loss, financial goals, and nutrition are only a few examples. It is easy to feel empowered by these accomplishments and feel a great sense of control that is rewarding and positive. However, this metal trick of justified continuance results in the same forms of social alienation, obsessive thoughts, planning and prioritizing when and how you can get your fix, or feel the reward of control.

It is so important that your goals are well rounded and not motivated by avoidance, fear or judgment, the false sense of control, idolatry, or trauma. Evaluate the purpose of your health goals and use balance as a measuring stick.


Your self-image is your mental picture of yourself, both as a physical body and a person. When you think about yourself, the feelings and images that come up are important. A healthy body image means that you see yourself as you really are, and that you feel good in your own skin. Self-image also involves your emotions about your strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. Because everything we do in our daily lives involves both the body and the mind, our self-image can have a strong affect on our overall health and well-being. Self-image can change as we age too, because our bodies change constantly as we move through life.

Man riding a bike and taking a break

Nutritional and Exercise Guidance

Just as we recognize how exercise benefits our overall health, it is equally important to mention how our nutritional habits affect our mental and physical health. It goes without saying that both exercise and nutrition work together in unison to achieve the same goals (e.g., manage a healthy mental and physical balance between the mind and the body to nurture life). It is implementing both to empower the individual that sometimes becomes a challenge.

Exercise Program Design

Exercising greatly enhances your self-esteem and mental outlook while reducing stress. It is never too late to start an exercise program to best build toward your goal of improved self-image, and always too early to stop exercising. Exercise is necessary for your physical and mental health. Sudden, seasonal, bursts of energy towards getting in shape come and go with the ever-changing weather. What is important is that maintaining some form of physical exercising, beyond your every day cycle, helps reduce anxiety while building emotional strength. How? One theory suggests that endorphins, a chemical the pituitary gland produces during vigorous exercise, improve your mood. Regular exercise also decreases the risk of heart disease and cancer, and there seems to be a connection between these illnesses and depression.

Intimacy and Forgiveness

Intimacy is something most people wish to give, receive, and share. Healthy intimacy is non-threatening and equally shared without restrictions or conditions placed on emotional vulnerability. This means that trust and communication must be the main elements used to create your relationship’s landscape. If the foundation is secure, it is easier to navigate long term emotional security. What’s more, faith in your relationship must be present, and forgiveness must be a tool used to reset the direction, and heal painful experiences. No matter how right you feel you are, there is always room to self-examine and learn how to forgive someone, or forgive yourself. If you choose resentment and hold onto anger, you are drinking your own poison. Intimacy is only as successful as you are willing to let go of pride, be accountable for your own shortcomings, and embrace forgiveness -- even if they don’t deserve it.

Selfish Intimacy

Selfish intimacy is a kind of intimacy that is expected, regardless of the relationship’s stability or dissimilar degrees of emotional or sexual involvement. It can also be seen when someone’s expectations are unrealistic and self-serving. This can be a person who communicates a high desire for sexual connectivity but, is unwilling to meet the emotional needs of their partner. It is all or nothing.

A big factor contributing to selfish intimacy is simply miscommunication, or not at all. We may assume that our partner is having fun and enjoying an intimate experience, when in fact they are wishing they were someplace else. The real issue is not necessarily complacency or self-serving expectations. It is the lack of communication as to how we wish to receive intimacy. We all interpret and identify with intimacy in very different ways. Men typically feel validated with more physical touch, while women may desire emotional communication before sex. If we do not communicate and take the time to learn our partner’s intimate desires, misinterpretation can stall, or end what would have been true intimacy. Selfish intimacy is not always selfish. It’s often hidden within assumptions.


What is Sex Addiction?

Sexual addiction refers to a preoccupation with sexual thoughts or sexual behavior to the extent that this preoccupation continues even though it causes substantial harm. This harm may include: 1) risky, dangerous, or unhealthy sexual behaviors; 2) damage to relationships; 3) avoidance of meaningful intimate relationships; 4) financial consequences; 5) legal consequences, or 6) a failure to fulfill important life roles such as employee, spouse, parent, friend, etc. Sexual addiction does not refer to any specific sexual behavior. Examples of sexual addictions are a preoccupation with: Masturbation, the use of prostitution, pornography, multiple sexual partners, dangerous sex acts, phone sex, internet sex, sexting, etc.

Sexual addiction is often accompanied by shame and secrecy. It can be so severe that the guilt and humiliation triggers more of the same behavior. Furthermore, the pleasures of the activity are often short lived and cycles back around to acting out sexually. Like all addictions, the negative consequences build up over time. These include sexually transmitted diseases; debt; legal troubles; loss of a marriage or relationship; impaired health (from lack of sleep, poor self-care; loss of job; and loss of self-respect. The colossal damage left behind can be unbearable. Risk factors for developing a sex addiction include being molested as a child; having bipolar disorder; and distress about one's sexual orientation. The good news is that sex addiction is treatable.

Signs of Porn and Sex Addiction:

  • Being distracted and emotionally unavailable
  • Neglect your responsibilities to family, work, or friends
  • Hiding your behavior
  • You start lying
  • You disappear without notice and your routine changes
  • You lose interest in sex with your partner
  • Your time\ lost with others is unaccounted for.
  • You feel the need to satisfy an immediate sexual urge.
  • You continue to take more risks despite the dangerous outcomes
  • You are physically unavailable to be intimate with your partner

What is Porn Addiction?

Pornographic addictions are viewed as part of a larger group of sexual addictions and are specifically considered process addictions. Process addictions are addictions to an activity or process. There are two sides to addiction: the physical and the psychological. The emotional aspect of this addiction must be examined closely and treated if a return to healthy sexual behavior is to occur. It is important to remember that, like what occurs in drug and alcohol addiction, neurochemical changes occur in the brain which contributes to the maintenance of pornographic addiction. It is very difficult to discontinue, but yes, it is possible to stop.

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