One of the benefits of cortisol in acute stress is that it suppresses our pain response. When we are being chased, we cannot worry about the pain in our muscles or minor injuries. This is a protective benefit. It allows us to run despite injury. Cortisol is also known to be a catabolic hormone, which means it breaks down parts of our body, such as our muscle and bone, to provide nutrients to help us weather a stressful time. Again, when we are running from a tiger, we need all of the energy we can muster to save our lives. Cortisol is responsible for keeping us moving in times of stress. People often ask whether cortisol is good or bad. Don't they just make your life much more interesting and exciting? What would we do without our foolish knucklehead friends? Do not be deceived. While these fun characters live crazy lives, there's a more serious problem with allowing this behavior to be accepted in your own life. There are too many foolish people out there. We've got a mob of them, and only a few people have good, close relationships to turn to in times of turmoil. What's been revealed about our society, particularly with the rise of social media and the internet, is an alarming amount of people who need guidance in this world. There are many lost people out there who are searching for SOME positivity. They have been burned by mentors and close figures in their lives. Their parents were unfaithful and uncaring towards them as a child. I really wanted to hear what he had to say, yet, I still wasn't sure. I knew the pretending had to stop.

Just being ready to try to move on wherever we went in our relationship made it easier for me to hear. Oh, I hated him in the moment. I couldn't look at him, though I hung on to every word. I did ask a couple of questions. It was important for me to know if any of our family knew of this and to know the last time he was on the internet. I heard him talk about what he was going to do to stop this behavior, but what impacted me was how much more serious this was than I had guessed. I'd already knew a lot about my partner's behavior before we had this formal disclosure, but it was helpful for me to hear it in a more level way. It wasn't so emotional now. Cortisol levels are a measure of stress. They are cyclic in the body. When we first wake up in the morning, our cortisol levels are at their highest. It is believed that those high amounts are needed then to mobilize our bodies for the day. In a healthy state, these levels gradually decrease during the day. However, in times of external stress, cortisol levels shift, and they become elevated at times when they would normally decline. This is necessary to activate our fight-or-flight response, to mobilize energy, and to allow us to meet the demands of a stressful day. Imagine a mother watching her child in a park and she witnesses him falling from the monkey bars. She sees her child on the ground, crying in pain and unable to walk. Her alarm phase kicks in, and she is mobilized to get her child help. They experienced traumatic moments during school with no one to comfort them. For whatever reason, a string of unfortunate events caused a spiral towards a regrettable lifestyle.

So, after living years and years without life going right, a person, let's call this person Mark, will finally get motivated enough to reach out for help. Mark is seeking a cure for his problems. Good for him! But as we discussed in article 4 and 5, motivation is quite slim. After several years, and even decades, of floating about in life, how successful can this sudden change in Mark's life be? When Mark looks for resources and guidance, he first turns to his friends and family. Not surprising that this is a natural first step, right? Most people don't get the best lottery picks in life, though. I knew we were having this conversation because we were trying to keep our marriage and I am hopeful that we will, but I'm aware he and I both have a lot of work to do. For a disclosure to be helpful and to lessen furthering greater trauma, there are suggested prerequisites. Addict is demonstrating commitment to stop all acting-out behavior (this means actively involved in some form of treatment/recovery practice). Addict needs foundation in recovery. Therapist assesses the addict's ability to be honest, his emotional strength, his understanding of his behavior and makes recommendation for timing. Partner needs understanding of sex addiction, that the behavior not about the partner, and garnering understanding of traumatic responses. Boundaries for discussion agreed upon. There are established boundaries as to the content, and to self-care. Listening and speaking boundaries are explained, so neither party is subject to being victimized. Both containment and protection boundaries will be in place. We can see then that the stress response is extremely important. Chronic Stress Response

When is stress detrimental to our health? If stress becomes persistent, our cortisol levels become chronically high. With the case of the mother who watches her child fall from the playground equipment, she learns her child has a broken bone in his leg, and she must fully care for him for six weeks while he is in a cast. This results in persistent high cortisol levels with constant activation of her fight-or-flight response. Her heart rate and blood pressure are continuously elevated. Her muscles are broken down, and fat is pulled from the periphery. People with high cortisol levels often have trouble with excessive abdominal weight (apple shape). Their sugar levels are also chronically elevated. Mark got stuck in a family that's dysfunctional. He's surrounded by friends who promote foolish behavior. Mark has a long-term, intimate relationship with someone who isn't a positive influence on him. Mark attempts to follow the guidance of his friends and family, but, because it's coming from a terrible source, life doesn't get better. Mark even explores religious beliefs and takes himself to church. While this often does the trick for people, even this can go wrong. Churches aren't perfect, and, oftentimes, are inhabited with people just as dysfunctional as the friends and family members they started with. The only difference is that the church environment has done a great job at covering the filth with smiling faces and the God-guise, the fictitious feeling that everything's okay if we slap Jesus's name on the situation. In Mark's experience, he attended the church for a couple months or so, but, because he's quite uncomfortable with this environment and no one is going out of their way to welcome him, Mark stops attending the church. So, Mark tried his friends and family members with no luck. Both parties able to demonstrate emotional regulation. Partner has established support.

Support system informed when the disclosure will take place. Because it is difficult to remain objective, family and friends often not the best support. Your best support may be a peer group of others in recovery Support is available to both individuals before, during, and after disclosures Suggested generalities to be shared in disclosure are: In what type(s) of behavior was he engaged? How long has he been acting out? Is there a possibility that either of you is at risk of sexually transmitted diseases? The immune system becomes overactivated and this can lead to suppression of key immune functions. This suppression can lead to increased risk for infections. Have you noticed, in times of stress that you are more prone to getting a cold? If the stress is ongoing, exhaustion sets in, preventing us from adjusting to the stressful situation. This is where the stress response takes the form of burnout, overtraining, or exhaustion. In the case of our mother from the playground, she has poor sleep, poor support, and poor nutrition, which can leave her burned out after six weeks of constantly caring for her child. In times of burnout, there is significant imbalance in the immune response. We see more inflammatory markers, decreased wound healing, and poorer response to infection. Free radicals are toxic to our cells. Their formation and injury to cells is called oxidative stress. He tried a religion or two, but the people in these religious groups weren't living out their faith lovingly or enthusiastically. This crippled Mark's trust that religion could be the answer.