While there is no set treatment for compulsive sexual behavior, it generally includes a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and self-help/support groups. The main goal of treatment is to help people overcome their urges, minimize their sexually compulsive behaviors and ultimately develop healthy sexual activities.
Compulsive sexual behavior can be treated on an inpatient or outpatient basis. However, people who are suffering from severe mental health health issues, or who are a danger to the public will require inpatient treatment, at least at the start. Both inpatient and outpatient treatment options are very intense in the early stages. The withdrawal process can be one of the more difficult hurdles to overcome in the recovery process since the recovery is from a drug from within the body. Many people struggle for years with their compulsions. Ongoing or periodic treatment may be effective for those people in order to help prevent relapses.
Certainly the biggest step anyone can take is to seek help. However, once someone has taken that step, it is vital they are able to find the right kind of treatment. In many instances sex addiction is not the only issue. Many people who suffer from sexually compulsive behavior will require treatment for an existing mental health condition. Others may suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction. Addicts may also be battling obsessive-compulsive disorder, or an anxiety or mood disorder such as depression.
There are a number of psychotherapy treatments that are used to treat compulsive sexual behavior. Treatment options include:
This treatment focuses on increasing awareness of unconscious thoughts and behaviors. This awareness will provide helpful insights into peoples’ motivations and ultimately will help them overcome their conflicts and problems.
Cognitive behavioral therapy:
This treatment helps people identify unhealthy, negative behaviors and beliefs. Once identified, it helps people replace them with healthy and positive ones.
This form of therapy is attendance at regular group meeting under the supervision of a medical health professional. It helps people explore their emotions and relationships in a safe setting. Discussing problems, successes, failures, and confusion with other people battling the same addiction provides a support network that can help buoy any recovering sex addict.
Family therapy/marriage counseling:
Sexually compulsive behaviors have a devastating impact on family life, marriages/partnerships in particular. This form of therapy is helpful for the recovery of spouses, partners, and children. It will also help rebuild the broken relationship, and help partners reestablish trust and intimacy.
Mental health professionals have identified a variety of medications that can help people suffering from compulsive sexual behavior in their recovery. Because sexually compulsive behavior is linked to the brain’s chemical reward system, there are certain medications that can be helpful. Each individual is different and may require different medications. In some cases a doctor may try a variety of medications before a suitable medication is decided upon. Some common medications used to treat compulsive sexual behavior include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti-androgens and Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH).
Self-Help and Support Groups:
Many people find self-help groups and support groups essential to their recovery. The impact of sex addiction is far-reaching and these groups can be an effective way for people to address many of their issues in a safe and supportive environment. There are a number of groups that have been adapted from the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). SA, Sexaholocis anonmymous, SLAA, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous and SAA Sex Addicts Anonymous.
These groups can help people work towards recovery and provide them with resources. In the end these people walk away with valuable skills that will help them on their lifelong journey to recovery. While these groups have proven to be effective, they are not for everyone. If you are uncomfortable with this type of setting, you can work with your mental health professional to find a suitable alternative to assist you on your way to recovery from compulsive sexual behavior.