Sexual Addiction and Prescription Drug Use

Contributor: written by The Refuge clinical content team member, Erica Smith, MA, NCC.

Portrait Of A Family Portrait Of A FamilyAddiction is something that can rapidly destroy individuals’ lives. When people think about addictions, their thoughts tend to immediately turn to ones of drugs and alcohol.

However, there are multiple kinds of addictions that can bring about monumental devastation in the lives of the individuals plagued by them, as well as in the lives of those around them. And, unfortunately, there are instances where multiple addictions can be present at the same time, eliciting even more detriments.

Sex addiction is one type of addiction that can wreak havoc on an individual’s life. A sex addiction may exist when individuals experience overwhelming obsessions, compulsions, or preoccupations with engaging in sexual activity.

Such activity can include a multitude of different things, including participating in physical acts of a sexual nature or watching others engage in such acts. Persistently viewing pornography, frequently taking part in phone sex or online sex, having sex with multiple partners, and engaging in compulsive masturbation can all be warning signs that someone may be struggling with a sexual addiction.

Sex Addiction & Prescription Meds

While sexual addiction is something that, on its own, can cause an extensive amount of turmoil, it is also an addiction that often coexists alongside an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. When this is the case, the amount of distress that individuals face can become all-consuming.

A bunch of pillsPrescription medications, for instance, can be the choice substances of abuse for those who are struggling with sexual addiction. There are a number of different types of prescription drugs to which individuals may become addicted, including painkillers, antianxiety agents, and stimulant medications.

The reasons behind why these addictions develop can vary drastically, yet despite what ultimately led to the onset of the addiction or what particular medication an individual has become addicted to, an immense amount of discord is likely to ensue.

Prescription Drug Abuse

The abuse of prescription medications occurs whenever an individual begins using this type of substance either without possessing a prescription for the medication itself or in a manner outside of that which has been directed by the prescribing physician. Painkillers, anti-anxiety agents, and stimulant medications can all produce mind- and mood-altering effects, especially when used outside of the recommended limits.

  • Painkillers can include medications like Vicodin, OxyContin, and morphine.
  • Antianxiety medications can include things such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium.
  • Stimulant medications can include prescriptions like Ritalin and Adderall.

All of these medication serve very specific purposes in alleviating various types of distress that different individuals experience. However, because of the effect that they can have on one’s mood and thought processes, they frequently become desirable as drugs of recreation as they provide people with an opportunity to mentally escape from the world around them.

young man at the beachOr, in the case of stimulants, the purpose may not to be to escape, but rather to obtain a sense of heightened motivation, mental clarity, and excessive energy.

Feelings of Shame

When individuals are struggling with a sex addiction, they may find comfort in the use of prescription drugs for a number of different reasons. Sexual addiction frequently comes with feelings of shame.

These feelings of shame can become so overpowering that individuals start to experience a deteriorating sense of self-worth, which can subsequently lead to intense feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and overall depression.

Despite the development of these negative emotions, individuals who are addicted to sex find that they are unable to control their compulsions and feel incapable of putting an end to the behaviors that they are participating in.

By taking part in the recreational use of prescription medications, these individuals are able to numb themselves to the negative feelings that they are experiencing as a result of their actions and of their inability to control those actions.

Senior man sitting outdoors with dogWhen even one addiction is present, it most often requires the intervention of trained professionals to overcome. When two addictions are simultaneously overpowering an individual’s life, professional intervention is almost always a necessity.

Fortunately, there are comprehensive treatment programs available that offer options for care to address compounding addictions, as well as any other co-occurring mental health conditions.

By taking part in such programming, individuals can learn ways to successfully manage their sexual compulsions, fight against their cravings for prescription drugs, and begin leading the healthy, happy lives that they deserve to be living.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What has been your experience with prescription drug abuse and sexual addiction? How have you witnessed the two going hand in hand? What steps were taken toward recovery?


Bio: “Sexual Addiction and Prescription Drug Use” was written by The Refuge clinical content team member, Erica Smith, MA, NCC. Erica has several years of experience working in the treatment field as a clinical therapist and has her Master’s degree in Clinical Community Counseling from the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University.

The Refuge, A Healing Place (http://www.therefuge-ahealingplace.com/) is a residential treatment center that specializes in treating a number of different mental health concerns, including substance abuse and process addictions. In an effort to be unique in how care is delivered, the staff at The Refuge treat the whole person and not just his or her symptoms, providing physical, emotional, and spiritual healing through a client-centered approach. When in need of treatment for addiction concerns, The Refuge can ensure that individuals receive the most thorough, holistic, and compassionate care possible so that they can take the first step towards life-long recovery.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 4, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com