Sex addiction is a complicated mental health condition that can impact an individual’s physical and emotional well-being, personal relationships and quality of life. It is important to recognize the signs of sex addiction and seek treatment to prevent future negative consequences.
In a clinical setting, the treatment of sexual addiction often involves psychotherapy and medication. Depending on the underlying cause of the addiction, therapy approaches may vary. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is one effective approach to treat sex addiction by teaching individuals how to identify and challenge self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. CBT also helps people develop healthy coping strategies to manage their emotions and reduce urges to engage in sexual behavior.
For some people, avoiding certain people, places or situations that trigger a sexual urge can be beneficial. This strategy might be helpful at the onset of treatment, especially if a person has used sex as a way to escape from painful emotions or avoid unpleasant realities. However, it is important to understand that avoiding sex is not a long-term solution, and that therapists can teach patients new coping skills.
Often, a person who struggles with sex addiction has a history of trauma in their past. These experiences can affect a person’s self-image and lead to feelings of shame, guilt or embarrassment. For these individuals, counseling and specialized treatment intensives can help them heal and find the confidence they need to be happy.
Some sex addiction treatment centers offer residential or inpatient programs that allow an individual to live at the facility while receiving care. These programs are usually located in serene environments away from situations that may prompt a sexual urge. They may also offer a curriculum of counseling sessions and classes that can help an individual to overcome their sexual urges and engage in healthy coping behaviors. Some medications, such as SSRIs (like Prozac), are used to reduce the occurrence of sexual urges.