A therapist or counselor can help people with sex addiction learn to recognize and handle their urges and impulses in healthy ways. They may use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or other modalities like psychodynamic psychotherapy. Medications are sometimes used as well, though this option is typically only recommended by a doctor after a consultation and evaluation of the patient. Those who struggle with sex addiction might also find support in self-help recovery groups such as Sex Addicts Anonymous or Sexaholics Anonymous, but it is important to remember that these are not a replacement for therapy.
Many people with sex addiction struggle with depression and a feeling of powerlessness, especially when they cannot control their urges and behaviors. In addition to the emotional distress, sexual preoccupation can lead to physical complications including contracting sexually transmitted diseases and legal problems such as unwanted sexual advances on others or rape perpetration.
Some people with sex addictions use their behavior to self-medicate past issues of abandonment, abuse or neglect. In their mind, sex is a way to elevate their self-image, personal value or worth and provide an endorphin rush that helps them cope with these feelings. Psychological sex addiction is treated by realizing that the behavior is an unhealthy coping mechanism and addressing the original traumas at their source.
Other forms of sex addiction therapy include identifying triggers that can lead to compulsive behaviors, learning to avoid sexually damaging situations and establishing healthy boundaries around the relationship with one’s partner or spouse. Medications, such as certain antidepressants, are often utilized to alleviate urges and cravings, but only after consulting with a medical professional.