Treatment of Love Addiction
Last week we discussed the etiology of Love Addiction and how it involves brain neurotransmission processes similar to the effects of drug misuse. This week, we would like to discuss potential treatment option for love addiction.
- Gaining awareness and cognitive restructuring of love addiction-related disturbances.
- Means of insight include learning to be aware of and discriminate between current love relationships and childhood love relationship inadequacies.
- Discerning between passion, tenderness (caring), and commitment aspects of love may be essential to understanding the degree of health in one’s love relationships one may have.
Sex Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA)
- 12-Step group that most closely pertains to the romantic/emotional aspects, though other groups include Codependents of Sex Addicts (COSA), Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA), and Sexaholics Anonymous.
- In SLAA, members learn to surrender, one day at a time, their whole life strategy of, and their obsession with, the pursuit of romantic and sexual intrigue and emotional dependency; they learn to take care of their own needs before involvement with others; become willing to ask for help, be vulnerable, and learn to trust and accept others; work through the pain of low self-esteem and fears of abandonment and responsibility; and learn to feel comfortable in solitude.
- Various individual-level therapy options might be considered. Motivational interviewing may help love addicts understand maladaptive functions of love objects. For example, one may learn through motivational interviewing techniques that their romantic relationships involve an ongoing pattern of issues surrounding trust and intimacy. One may then try to reduce the discrepant feelings by deciding to enter relationships more slowly.
- Through therapy, one may learn that it may be most prudent to avoid all contact with the objects of the love addiction, particularly rejecting partners, and for one to become exposed to novel environments to facilitate new more healthy experiences.
- The love addict should learn how to construct a self-support system through the use of guided healthy selftalk.This self-talk might guide one toward getting used to less intense, more constructive feelings toward self and others.
- Self-management training should be considered to help one redirect one’s behavior. The therapist may establish short-term goals with a love addict that could include signing up for community courses (e.g., photography), participation in meditation or exercise, and making same sex non-sexual, non-romantic friends.
- Group therapy techniques (e.g., use of psychodrama) may help one decrease illusions toward romantic partners, and help one understand one’s feelings toward long-term significant others such as one’s nuclear family. One may also learn through group interaction how to better participate in healthy romantic relationships, which may be less exciting but more rewarding in the long run.
-Katie McGrath, M.S.