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Hyper-Sexuality, Sex Addiction & ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyper-Sexuality Disorder

People with ADHD seek novelty and stimulation. The former is a response to easy boredom. The latter is a response to the need to mobilize neurotransmitters that make one feel calm and good.

Medications that treat ADHD mobilize primarily Dopamine and Noradrenalin. Dopamine is the brain's primary feel good substance. Its release in the Nucleus Acumbens is intensely pleasurable. 

Noradrenalin also helps one feel good and has major effects on hyperactivity. In combination one becomes less fidgety, restless and anxious and feels good, calm, happy or mellow.

Children with ADHD frequently bite their fingernails, have something in their mouth, fiddle with things. The most innervated parts of the body are the mouth, lips, tongue, fingers and genitalia. Hence adolescents and adults with ADHD often masturbate a lot. The stimulation is extraordinarily calming for them and climax release a flood of Dopamine in the pleasure center of the brain. Promiscuity, hyper-sexuality and "sex addiction" often ensue.

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These are physiologic corollaries of externally sought stimulation to release needed Dopamine and Noradrenalin. Cocaine, Methamphetamine and speed are common. Nicotine release a Dopamine surge within 8 seconds of a puff.  At the other end marijuana and alcohol are used to calm anxiety and treat the intrinsic sleep disorder of ADHD (see jorygoodmanmd.com re the sleep disorder).  

Appropriate pharmacotherapy to stabilize these neuro-chemical pathways help prevent a great deal of addiction and help patients function within a normal range throughout the lifespan. And many relationships are saved as a result.

Jory F. Goodman, M.D., is a practicing psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, with more than thirty years of clinical experience.

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