Understanding How Sex and Love Addiction Escalate – Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S

Addicts of all types typically experience an increasing tolerance to the mood-altering effects of their substance/behavior of choice. In simplest terms, this occurs because the brain adjusts to excessive dopamine levels (created by the repeated use of an addictive substance or behavior) by producing less dopamine and/or reducing the number of dopamine receptors in the brain. In other words, the brain develops a tolerance to addictive substances and behaviors. (I have written about the neurochemistry of addiction in easy to understand terms here.) Because of this, addicts must, over time, use more of or a more intense version of an addictive substance or behavior to get the same high they experienced when they first started. This, in a nutshell, is escalation. Usually this concept is easier to understand if we’re talking about a substance abuse issue, such as heroin addiction. Ask yourself: Does anyone shoot smack right out of the… Continue reading