Last updated: 04/8/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 5 minutes
If you are in search of a place where you can get help for sex addiction, you should be happy to hear that there are many different treatment programs available to assist you in your recovery. According to the US National Library of Medicine, some of the best sex addiction treatment programs use proven strategies to help heal the emotional and physical complications that have derived from sex addiction and which were possibly underlying prior to the sexual addiction or which could potentially have even been a source of the addiction to begin with.
Most sex addiction treatment programs will approach the notion of sexual addiction using the same proven strategies that are used in the treatment of drug addictions or alcohol addiction. Behavioral therapy, counseling, twelve step programs and similar methods of treatment for sex addiction are all common in treatment centers that offer a sexual addiction treatment approach. In fact, most choose to use similar methods of treatment because these addictions appear to function similarly in the brain.
What to Look for In Sex Addiction Treatment
If you’re new to the idea of treatment, or you’re wondering what it takes to find effective treatment for yourself or for someone you care about who may be suffering from sexual addiction, there are some ways that you can pinpoint a quality sex addiction treatment program versus one that may not provide an effective method of care. Some of the things you should consider in your search for sexual addiction treatment include:
- The percentage of treatment that will be focused on sexual addiction versus the percentage of treatment that is focused on general compulsivity. People who are addicted to sexual behaviors often suffer from compulsive disorders or compulsive behaviors above and beyond sex so it’s important to choose a treatment program that places much of the treatment and therapeutic focus on stopping compulsive behaviors rather than simply on providing treatment for the sexual addiction alone.
- Staff experience with sexual addictions and compulsive behaviors. You’ll want to find a treatment program that includes staff members who are experienced with the treatment of sex addictions and compulsive disorders.
- Therapeutic approach. Is the program a twelve-step program or non-twelve-step? Is the program faith based or non-denominational? What are your preferences or the preferences of your loved one when it comes to faith based treatment or the lack thereof?
- Couples therapy? If you are in a relationship, you’ll want to choose a sex addiction treatment program that provides a couples centered approach which allows you and your spouse a chance to work in therapy together on a more personal level without others being involved. This will be in addition to your own individual therapy and the group therapy that is provided.
- Level of support provided for both yourself and your spouse as well as for other family members. Sex addiction can cause problems for your children, loved ones, significant others and yourself too so it’s important to seek help that will provide support on all levels for everyone involved.
Types of Sexual Addiction Treatment Programs
There are various types of sexual addiction treatment programs available to assist you and your loved ones in overcoming this very powerful disorder. Treatment will typically focus on the primary issues of getting the addict away from potentially harmful situations involving their compulsive sexual behaviors and providing treatment for the emotions that surround the disorder.
People who are addicted to sex will often feel ashamed, guilty and depressed as a result of their addiction and the hurt that they put their friends and family members through as a result of their addiction. These feelings can make the process of overcoming sexual addiction difficult because for the addict, the only thing that initially seems to help is to resort back to their compulsive sexual behaviors. With time in treatment and through therapy these feelings can be overcome and those suffering from sex addiction can effectively manage their symptoms.
The most common methods of sex addiction treatment include:
- 12 step programs
- Cognitive therapy
- Behavioral therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Group therapy
In order to effectively remove the individual from the potential of harmful sexual situations in the early phases of treatment before the therapy and counseling have really had a chance to effectively help the addict learn how to refrain from compulsive sexual behaviors, it is often necessary for the patient to spend time in an inpatient treatment setting. This allows for around-the-clock monitoring and prevents the chance of harmful sexual activity taking place in the early phases of treatment.
Inpatient sex addiction treatment will typically last for a period of a few weeks or months and then the individual will be able to move on to an outpatient treatment setting in which he or she has more freedom but continues to receive counseling and therapy. The primary goal of sex addiction treatment is not to teach complete abstinence the way it is for drug or alcohol addiction treatment; the goal is to teach the addict how to stop compulsive sexual activity and unhealthy sexual behaviors from ruining their lives and the lives of those who care about them.
Most sex addiction treatment programs recommend a period of self-imposed abstinence. The timeframe that the individual should remain abstinent from all sexual activity is usually between 60 and 90 days depending on how well counseling and therapy progresses along the way. By taking a stance and remaining abstinent from sexual activity for at least 60 days, the addict is able to learn what triggers their sexual desires and compulsive behaviors which can help when it comes to learning how to change these thoughts and behaviors around.