Sex Addiction Rehab Explained

Sex Addiction Rehab Explained

Authored by Matthew Idle

Edited by Alexander Bentley

Reviewed by Philippa Gold

Sex Addiction Rehab


Sex and sexual activity can be a very enjoyable part of life. Yet, when sexual activity dominates your life, an addiction can occur. Compulsive sexual behavior is oftentimes known as hypersexuality, hypersexuality disorder, and sexual addiction.


Sexual addiction is an excessive preoccupation with sexual urges or behaviors. These urges and behaviors are difficult to control. They cause individuals distress and may cause negative affects to health. A person’s job, relationships, or other aspects of their life may be affected.


An addiction to sex may involve a number of commonly enjoyable sexual experiences. Examples of enjoyable sexual experiences include cybersex, multiple sexual partners, masturbating, the use of pornography, or paying for intercourse. If these sexual activities and behaviors become the main focus in your life, difficult to keep under control, and/or disruptive or harmful, you may have an addiction to sex.


Untreated sex addiction may damage multiple aspects of your life. Your self-esteem, relationships, career, and health could be damaged. Your addiction to sex could harm others. Undergoing sex addiction treatment and self-help will teach you to manage compulsive sexual behavior.


What are the symptoms of sex addiction?


Some symptoms of sex addiction include:


  • Having recurrent and intense fantasies about sex, sexual urges and behaviors that take up a large amount of your time, and sexual urges that feel beyond your control.
  • Feeling compelled to do certain sexual acts, feeling a release of the tension after completing specific acts, but feeling guilt or remorse after completing them.
  • Trying unsuccessfully to stop or control your sexual urges, fantasies, or behavior.
  • Using compulsive sexual behavior to escape from your problems, such as depression, loneliness, anxiety or stress.
  • Continuing to engage in sexual behaviors with serious consequences. These behaviors could be potentially getting or giving another person a sexually transmitted disease, the loss of important relationships with others, difficulty at work, financial problems, or legal issues.
  • Having trouble building and maintaining stable and healthy relationships.

What are the causes of sex addiction?


The causes of sex addiction are unclear. Research has found that some of the causes of sexual addiction may include:


  • A brain chemical imbalance. Specific chemicals in a person’s brain (neurotransmitters) such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine work to regulate a person’s mood. High levels of these chemicals could relate to sexual addiction.
  • Sexual addiction could cause changes in the brain’s neural circuits over time. This could happen in the reinforcement centers of your brain. Sex addiction is like other addictions. You will need more intense content for greater sexual stimulation.
  • There are conditions that affect the brain that could cause sex addiction. Diseases and/or health issues like epilepsy and dementia could cause damage to parts of the brain that regulate sexual behavior. Some medications may cause an increase in sexual addiction.


What are the consequences of sex addiction?


Sex addiction may have a number of negative consequences to your life and those around you. These consequences may include:


  • Struggling with feelings of shame, guilt, and low self-esteem
  • Developing mental health issues like depression, suicide, anxiety, and severe distress
  • Neglecting or lying to your family and friends,
  • Harming or destroying relationships
  • Losing focus, engaging in sexual activity, or searching for Internet pornography while at work
  • Risking your job
  • Accumulating financial debts due to purchasing pornography and sexual services
  • Contracting HIV, hepatitis, or other sexually transmitted diseases
  • Passing sexually transmitted diseases to others
  • Engaging in unhealthy substance use, recreational drugs, or drinking alcohol in excess
  • Being arrested for sexual offenses

How to prevent sexual addiction and/or problems with issues caused by sexual addiction?


It is not clear how sexual addiction can be prevented. This is due to the causes of sexual addiction not being known.


There are a few ways you may prevent sexual addiction, including:


  • Get help early on for issues with your sexual behavior. By identifying and treating symptoms early on, you may prevent sexual addiction from growing worse over time. You may prevent it from escalating.
  • Seek treatment for mental health disorders before they grow worse. Sexual addiction may become worse due to depression or anxiety.
  • Identify and find help for drug and alcohol addiction. Substance misuse may cause a loss of control and unhappiness. These issues may lead to poor decisions and could push you closer to unhealthy behaviors.
  • Avoid risky sexual situations and don’t jeopardize your health or the health of others.


Getting a Sex addiction diagnosis


A doctor or mental health professional will do a psychological evaluation to determine if you have a sex addiction. The evaluation may include questions about:


  • Your physical and mental health
  • Your emotional well-being
  • Your sexual thoughts, behaviors, and urges that may be difficult to control
  • Your use of drugs and alcohol
  • Your family, relationships, and social situation
  • Your issues caused by sexual behavior


Your doctor or mental health professional may consult with your family and/or friends to determine your level of sexual addiction.

What is sex addiction rehab treatment?


The treatment for sex addiction often involves psychotherapy, medication, and self-help therapy groups. One of the main goals of the treatment is to help the sufferer manage their sexual urges and reduce excessive sexual behaviors. At the same time, the treatment focuses on maintaining healthy sexual activities.


A person suffering from sex addiction may also need mental health treatment. Underlying conditions may exist that cause a person’s sexual addiction. Individuals suffering from compulsive sexual behavior may also be suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Mental health conditions such as depression and/or anxiety may also contribute to sexual addiction.


Rehabs use psychotherapy such as CBT to treat compulsive sexual behavior disorder. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers may also be given to individuals during recovery. Self-help groups are also used by experts to give sufferers the chance to learn about the disorder, share their stories, and hear from others suffering from the same issues.


Inpatient treatment can help you uncover the underlying issues that resulted in your sex addiction. Residential treatment at a qualified facility gives you the chance to heal. Ongoing treatment following inpatient recovery allows you to continue addressing your sexual addiction.

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