Sex Addiction Counseling

Mar 1, 2024

Sex addiction is a mental health condition in which an individual is obsessed with excessive sexual thoughts, images, and behaviors. They’re so preoccupied that it disrupts their personal and professional life. Although it’s not an official addiction, it’s similar to most behavioral addictions. 

Sex addiction is often referred to as compulsive sexual behavior since it can disrupt their emotional and mental health. Signs of sex addiction are infidelity, desire for escort services or casual hookups, obsession with pornography, or excessive masturbation. 

Even with these signs, sex addiction can still be hard to diagnose. The most common way to treat it is with medication and psychotherapy. A life without sex addiction is possible, but if only the individual sticks with it. 

What do sex addiction therapists do?

If you struggle with sex addiction, you should speak with a mental health professional. Psychotherapy is a form of talk therapy in which you discover the underlying cause of your addiction. Two of the most common forms of psychotherapy are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational enhancement therapy. 

CBT helps a person adapt healthy coping mechanisms to stop their compulsive behavior. When it comes to motivational enhancement therapy, the individual works with a therapist to seek a specific treatment for his or her needs. 

Who can diagnose a sex addiction?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) doesn’t list sex addiction as a mental health condition. Because of this, sex addiction can be hard to diagnose. Regardless, it’s important to be diagnosed by a physician or certified mental health professional. 

A doctor or healthcare professional can look at your medical history to make an official diagnosis. They’ll make sure you don’t have any other symptoms that indicate a mental health problem. The first step in the treatment journey is to determine the cause or trigger for your compulsive sexual behavior. 

Can you overcome sex addiction with therapy?

There isn’t a cure for sex addiction. It can be managed if you recognize the signs and want to end your compulsive thoughts, urges, and behaviors. It just requires a long-term commitment, as it would for other behavioral addictions. 

Preventing sex addiction depends on the underlying cause. This work also requires making sure your other mental health conditions are effectively managed. 

The first step is to admit that you have a problem with compulsive sexual behavior and urges. If you recognize the signs mentioned above, consult a physician or mental health professional to get a definitive diagnosis. 

The benefits of a sex addiction therapist and counseling

Both medication and psychotherapy are used together to treat sex addiction. These forms of treatment are typically done at an inpatient or outpatient facility. This allows you to seek the treatment you need in an environment free of triggers. In an inpatient center, you can interact with other people who struggle with sex addiction. 

Treatment Options That Can Help

Some alternatives can help you with your sex addiction. Other treatment options include removing triggers from your home and replacing them with healthy distractions. Practicing mindfulness or starting a new workout plan can also help. 

You might also want to consider joining a support group such as Sex Addicts Anonymous. You won’t be alone in your journey. You’ll interact with other people who struggle with this condition and feel shame. 

Psychotherapy

Due to the amount of stigma and shame that comes with sex addiction, most are afraid to admit they have a problem. As a result, they fail to seek help until they hit rock bottom. 

While psychotherapy is recommended, not all types will help treat sex addiction. You might have to experiment with different types to see what works for you. If CBT doesn’t help, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) could be beneficial instead. Those who struggle to connect with their inner feelings may benefit from acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). 

Medication

There is no official medication that treats sex addiction or sexual urges. Instead, you’ll be prescribed medication that treats your other mental health symptoms, such as anxiety and depression. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were created for the treatment of anxiety and depression. 

They can also stabilize the compulsive behaviors and habits associated with sex addiction. Mood stabilizers are often prescribed for bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Sex addicts might also notice a decrease in sexual urges. 

Treatment Programs

Inpatient and outpatient therapy are both recommended for sex addicts. They employ the same forms of treatment, but with different levels of care depending on the severity of the addiction. However, it can be hard to find a legitimate treatment program. 

An inpatient facility requires a patient to stay overnight or several days until completing the program. An outpatient facility allows the patient to return to home and work and practice their new methods in a real-world setting. 

Coping With Sex Addiction

Coping with sex addiction feels like it’s impossible but it’s not. It involves desire, the development of new skills, and a time commitment. The reason why excessive sexual urges come up is that it generates a positive feeling that cancels out the negative feeling. This means you use sex to cope with anxiety, depression, or stress. 

Some ways to cope with sex addiction are to avoid triggers, keep a log of your moods and sexual urges, develop a healthy lifestyle, and learn from your slip-ups with kindness and compassion. 

Most sex addicts have underlying problems and reasons that need to be addressed. Once you learn how to cope with your addiction, you can work on your issues with a qualified therapist. 

This coping method allows you to clear your head, focus, and address the work that needs to be done. Coping with your sexual urges takes consistency and dedication. Instead of going at it alone, you should speak with the professionals at Birches Health

Resources:

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR)

How Is Sex Addiction Treated?

Sex Addiction in Psychology: Overcoming Compulsions

Sex Addicts Anonymous

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