Being intimate is when you share a close emotional or physical connection with someone. Although many think of intimacy in terms of romantic love or sexual attraction, intimacy is more than this. For example, your relationships with your friends, professional colleagues, and family members all involve a certain kind of intimacy. You develop intimacy in several ways. When you share common interested or activities, when you engage in the exchange of ideas, and the exchange of emotional support or empathy is a kind of intimacy. However, sometimes individuals find it more challenging than normal for them to express or find intimacy. In fact, they may have a fear of intimacy. When this is the case, individuals are suffering from a mental health disorder. Fortunately, the experts at Integrative Life Center’s intimacy disorder treatment program can help.
An intimacy disorder involves problems developing, maintaining, and expressing appropriate kinds and levels of intimacy. Sex addiction is a form of intimacy disorder where an individual compulsively engages in destructive, risky, and self-degrading sexual behaviors that provide no true pleasure or intimacy of any kind. However, sex and romance aren’t the only kinds of intimacy out there. Therefore, there are other forms of intimacy disorder, as well.
Frequently, it is a fear of intimacy that is the dominant mental health issue. This disorder leads individuals to sabotage their relationships and isolate themselves. Also, it can cause individuals to be abusive to others as a means to push them away or deflect blame from their issues. No matter what angle the fear expresses itself, it prevents individuals from having meaningful bonds. Without healthy, appropriate social bonds, individuals are at higher risk for depression, self-harm, and substance abuse.
Some signs and symptoms that you, a friend, family member, co-worker, or loved one needs to enter an intimacy disorder treatment program include:
- Low self-esteem and extreme shyness or awkwardness
- Acute fear of judgment or anxiety about being humiliated
- Avoidance of social situations
- Being overly sensitive to casual, constructive criticism
A fear of intimacy may not be obvious at first. Often, others mistake it as anger, indifference, or coldness. This is why an intimacy disorder treatment program is so important. It can help individuals struggling with fear of intimacy learn not just how to cope but share or express their emotions in a healthy manner.
Find Help at an Intimacy Disorder Treatment Program
When an individual does not feel emotionally safe to share their thoughts, feelings, concerns, desires, and needs, they are vulnerable. To find a way to cope, some may turn to substance abuse. Also, this vulnerability increases the risk of developing other serious mental health disorders like depression and disordered eating. Thus, our intimacy disorder treatment program offers a variety of therapies to help patients heal, such as:
- Adventure therapy and experiential therapy which helps patients learn to value themselves. In a combination of outdoor activities and encounters, patients learn to develop trust with others and take responsibility for their actions.
- Improved communication through psychodrama therapy. This therapy allows patients to act out their internal turmoil or scenes that occupy their thoughts so they can learn ways to react more appropriately and challenge their assumptions.
- Talk therapy focused on how to break away from negative self-conceptions (cognitive-behavioral therapy), addressing ways to better express and manage emotions (dialectical behavioral therapy), and motivational interviewing, which helps patients articulate their desires and decision making.
Reach Out to Integrative Life Center Today
If you are deliberately avoiding intimacy, you may need help to improve your mental health. Often, individuals may not even realize they are suffering from a fear of intimacy. Thus, it’s vital to educate yourself so that you can help yourself or a loved one get the help necessary. Integrative Life Center’s intimacy disorder treatment program knows individuals dealing with fear of intimacy likely want to develop healthy relationships. However, they are blocked for one reason or another. Our compassionate and experienced counselors and therapists can guide patients through the program and help them open themselves. You don’t have to struggle alone any longer. Contact us today at 615.455.3903 to explore all we can offer.