Sex addiction may be among the most damaging of all addictive behaviors. Thriving in the shadows, sex addicts shame themselves and tear apart their relationships. But so many try—unsuccessfully—to manage the condition on their own.
Having the courage to reach out and ask for professional help can alter the course of your life.
But what does sex addiction therapy actually look like? There are many options, and each one has its own benefits. From simple prescription medications to long-term inpatient care, there is a whole gamut of options available for treating the disorder. Here are a few of those options. We
hope you will consider one.
The least invasive and most-accessible option, group therapy—especially in the form of 12-step programs like Sex Addicts Anonymous and Sexaholics Anonymous—offer people
suffering from sex addiction a structured line of support. Research has shown that group therapy can help clients to ease their sense of shame by fending off isolation and keeping them in the company of others suffering in the same light. Accountability and access to clean support are among the many benefits of group therapy and 12-step programs.
Another option is behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy, both of which take place under the care of a licensed professional. Psychotherapy aims to help the client identify triggers for their sexual compulsion and replace or remove them. Talk therapy does this as well, focusing on moments from the client’s past that may have influenced their behavior up to this point, or on particularly unhealthy patterns of thought and self-identity. All forms of psychotherapy can be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment should the client need more support.
Should it be necessary, medication is always an option, too. If other mental health issues, like Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or Major Depression, are present and co-occurring, it may be required that those problems are addressed and medicated. But even if that’s not the case, sex addiction can be treated with certain medications that control the sexual urges and manage bouts of anxiety and depression. Many antidepressants have shown to effectively sate sexually compulsive behavior. Even drugs that stabilize mood and treat bipolar disorder have shown effectiveness.
Minimizing distractions and emphasizing continued support, recovery centers like these can help people struggling with sex addiction to find the focus and the hope necessary to overcome their urges. If it’s not possible to leave home or coordinate living circumstances, outpatient recovery centers do exist. They, of course, offer more freedom than their inpatient counterparts, which may be a problem for some patients. The patient’s doctor will be able to best assess whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is best suited to their path to recovery.
If all the needs of the patient are met, treatment can be effective, but it requires a team of people sensitive to the painful nature of this disorder. People struggling with sex addiction need the unwavering support of their doctors and their loved ones. It’s hard enough trying to come clean to friends and family about sexually compulsive behavior—it’s embarrassing and may feel impossible to overcome. But with the help of supportive family, a kind and empathetic therapist and treatment team, and the proper systems of therapy in place, the sex addict will be well on their way to recovery—and soon living a life of peace and freedom from their old ways.