Sex addiction is a compulsive dependence on shameful, secretive or abusive sexual behavior. So how is this addiction treated? Like drug addicts or alcoholics, sex addicts will try to deny, rationalize or justify their behavior in order to keep engaging in destructive activities. Because they're in denial, sex addicts often won't recognize or admit they have a problem until their life turns completely upside down. Usually it takes a monumental event, losing one's job, getting arrested, contracting a life-threatening STD or getting a divorce to force a sex addict to seek help. Sexual addiction treatment programs use many of the same approaches used in other addiction recovery facilities. The main difference is that sexual addicts do not practice abstinence, the way other addicts avoid engaging what it is they're addicted to. Treatment instead focuses on controlling the addictive behavior and learning how to develop a healthy sexuality. Sometimes people with sexual addictions may choose to attend an inpatient or residential treatment for several weeks. This can help recovering addicts stay away from people, images, or situations that might trigger compulsive sexual behavior. Treatment includes education about their disease, individual counseling, and, sometimes, marital or family counseling. People with sex addictions often have unresolved emotional issues from their past. It takes trust and time to work through these emotions. Talk therapy can help treat emotional disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, which often occur with addiction. According to psychiatrist John Sealy, who treats sex addiction, 80 percent of sex addicts were abused as children. If you, or someone you care about, are coping with sex addiction or unresolved issues from the past, an in patient residential treatment center will allow medical professionals to treat all of your symptoms - which can greatly impact your chances of recovery. Support groups and 12 step recovery programs are also available for people with sexual addictions. Within these programs, members are asked to: admit that they are powerless over their addiction, and that their life has become unmanageable; seek help from a power greater than themselves; do a complete moral inventory and identify their character defects; show humility and strength in weakness; and make amends to those whom they've have harmed. Addicts work on each step with a sponsor and regularly attend Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings. The healing process can take time, both for the sex addict and those affected by the addict's behavior, but only by committing to get better, can the opportunity to build a future full of meaningful, loving relationships be realized.
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Last Updated:December 20, 2012