Treatment for Sex Addiction

Sex Addiction Treatment Image - Masterfile

The goal of treatment for sex addiction is to help the patient develop healthy sexuality that leads to normal sexual behavior and relationships. Successful treatment often begins with the patient understanding, admitting, and accepting that he or she is a sex addict. In most cases, sex addiction is a chronic condition that requires long-term treatment.

Support groups, counseling (e.g., individual or group counseling, marriage counseling, family counseling), and psychotherapy (e.g., cognitive behavior therapy) often are important parts of treatment for sex addiction. Treatment for sex addiction often requires a period of abstinence (refraining from sexual activity) and a commitment to rebuilding damaged relationships and managing stress.

Like treatment for alcoholism and drug abuse, sex addiction treatment often is based on a 12-step program. Self-help treatment programs include Sex Addicts Anonymous® (SAA), Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA), and Sexaholics Anonymous (SA).

In some cases, medications (e.g., antidepressants, antibiotics) are used to treat psychological conditions (e.g., depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder [OCD]) or medical conditions (e.g., STDs) that are associated with or related to sexual behavior.

In severe cases, sex addiction that creates a serious danger to others (e.g., rape, molestation, pedophilia) may be treated with antiandrogens (drugs that reduce the effects of sex hormones [androgens]). These drugs may help reduce sexual thoughts and urges in people who are addicted to sex.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 06 Jan 2009

Last Modified: 05 Oct 2015