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As sexual addictions progress, the behaviors that the addict takes place in will often progress as well.

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While a smartphone, tablet, or computer can be a hugely productive tool, compulsive use of these devices can interfere with your daily life, work, and relationships.

When you spend more time on social media or playing games than you do interacting with real people, or you can’t stop yourself from repeatedly checking texts, emails, news feeds, websites, or apps—even when it has negative consequences in your life—it may be time to reassess your technology use.

"This is a hidden public health hazard exploding, in part, because very few are recognizing it as such or taking it seriously," Dr. As a result, the diagnosis of cybersex addiction is often missed, Dr. Especially vulnerable to becoming hooked on Internet sex, he wrote, are "those users whose sexuality may have been suppressed and limited all their lives [who] suddenly find an infinite supply of sexual opportunities" on the Internet. Dana Putnam, a psychologist in San Luis Obispo, Calif., said other factors that could increase a person's vulnerability to cybersex compulsion were depression and other forms of emotional distress, relationship problems and a failure to get one's sexual needs met. Schneider among 94 family members affected by cybersex addiction revealed that the problem could arise even among those in loving marriages with ample sexual opportunities.

"Sex on the Net is just so seductive and it's so easy to stumble upon it," she said.

In a world where sex is everywhere – online, on billboards, on television, in schools, books, magazines and other forms of media – there is an increased likelihood for an individual to have a strong sexual desire that is difficult to control.

According to the US National Library of Medicine, when an individual has an increased sex drive that includes an obsession with sex, sex addiction may develop.

Addiction to social networking, dating apps, texting, and messaging can extend to the point where virtual, online friends become more important than real-life relationships.

We’ve all seen the couples sitting together in a coffee shop or restaurant ignoring each other and engaging with their smartphones instead.

"People who are vulnerable can get hooked before they know it." To those who say a behavioral compulsion is not a true addiction, Dr.

Schneider responded with a definition of addiction that would clearly apply to cybersex abusers: "Loss of control, continuation of the behavior despite significant adverse consequences and preoccupation or obsession with obtaining the drug or pursuing the behavior." Although behavioral addictions involve no external drugs, preliminary research has suggested that they cause changes in brain chemicals, like the release of endorphins, that help to perpetuate the behavior.

Researchers writing in the current issue of the journal Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity report that many of the men and women who now spend dozens of hours each week seeking sexual stimulation from their computers deny that they have a problem and refuse to seek help until their marriages and/or their jobs are in serious jeopardy. The survey found that as many as a third of Internet users visited some type of sexual site. Young of the Center for Online Addiction in Bradford, Pa., wrote that "partially as a result of the general population and health care professionals not being attuned to the risks, seemingly harmless cyberromps can result in serious difficulties way beyond what was expected or intended." According to Dr.

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