We Provide Help for Sexual Addiction

In the United States, there are an estimated 30 million people who suffer from a sexual addiction. When it goes untreated, sex addiction can prevent meaningful relationships from forming and can severely interrupt daily life. Fortunately, there are a number of behavioral and pharmacological therapies that are commonly used to treat sex addiction. However, there is no one test that can definitively indicate someone has a compulsive sexual disorder. In order to make a diagnoses, a sex addiction therapist will require comprehensive medical, family, and mental health information to distinguish signs of sexual addiction from other medical and mental health disorders.

What is Sex Addiction?

Sexual addiction goes by many names. Love addiction, sexual dependency, compulsive sexual behavior disorder, and hypersexuality are all pseudonyms for the condition of being unable to control sexual behavior. People who are struggling with an addiction to sex, are excessively preoccupied with sexual thoughts and behaviors. This can include obsessive porn watching, compulsive cheating or masturbation, or being drawn to prostitutes and one-night stands. This can also include disorders known as paraphilias, which include unusual fetishes, voyeurism, exhibitionism, pedophilia and more.

Due to the compulsive nature of sexual addiction, sex addicts suffer from a negative pattern of sexual behavior that leads to significant problems or distress. No one factor causes sexual addiction. However, there are thought to be various biological, psychological, and social factors that contribute to the development of these disorders.

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Signs and Symptoms of Sexual Addiction

When it comes to what is officially recognized as a sexual behavior disorder, there is some debate over what qualifies. However, there is no mistaking the need to get help if the behavior is affecting your daily life. Whether the behavior is detrimental to the person or the people around them, HCH Therapy and Counseling recognizes that sexuality is complicated. While the scientific community has yet to agree on specific diagnostic criteria for certain types of sex addictions, the correlations to addictive behavior are clear.

Researchers generally agree that some signs and symptoms for sexual addiction typically include:

  1. Ignoring or disregarding important social activities such as work, school, or family life in order to engage in the behavior.
  2. A need for a greater amounts of activity or increased intensity of the behavior, to achieve the desired sense of satisfaction.
  3. A need to increase the planned time set aside for the activity or recovery period, in order to meet the demand of engaging in the behavior.
  4. A pervasive desire to stop the behavior, or previously unsuccessful attempts to stop the behavior.
  5. Continuing the sexual behavior in spite of dealing with physical or psychological problems as a result.
  6. Physical or psychological withdrawal symptoms due to stopping the sexual behavior.

Sex addiction and substance abuse share many of the same qualities. Unlike substance abuse however, sexuality is a fundamental and worthwhile component in the life of a healthy individual. Thus, the goal of treatment is not to stop or limit sexual behavior, but to establish a healthy relationship with its expression.

Sexual Addiction Treatment in Grand Rapids

Individual Sex Addiction Therapy

Individual therapy can help patients address any underlying issues that may be contributing to their sex addiction. Since some of the symptoms of sex addiction can also be co-occurring, a sex addiction therapist needs to determine if there are other mental illnesses at play. This can include several anxiety disorders like panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or manic depressive swings associated with bipolar disorder. Other associated mental illnesses also include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, other psychotic disorders, a drug addiction, or a personality or behavior disorder – like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In most cases, many sex addicts benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in treating their addiction. However, should compulsive behaviors appear severe, a sex addiction therapist may suggest an inpatient treatment program or an intensive outpatient treatment program.

Sex Addiction Group Therapy

Many people who struggle with an addiction to sex find group therapy to be beneficial. Based on the Alcoholics Anonymous model and other 12-step programs, sexual addiction groups provide a safe space where sex addicts can share their experiences and provide support for each other during recovery. A group setting is also the best setting for healing shame in sexual addiction. Shame is a major issue due to the nature of a compulsive sexual disorders. The related behaviors tend to lead people into scenarios others might generally find socially unacceptable.

The goal of a sex addiction therapist in this setting is to help the clients learn their individual triggers for sexually destructive behaviors, and reevaluate distortions in their thoughts that contribute to their acting out behaviors. The sexual addiction group may also address basic internal emotional developmental difficulties that contribute to the development of their hypersexuality.

Family Counseling for Sex Addicts

Similar to individual therapy, this form of counseling allows for a more tailored approach to treatment. Family counseling and couples counseling are also common during recovery. Sex addicts tend to be socially isolated and have personality traits like compulsivity, impulsivity, insecurities, and trouble with relationship stability and intimacy. People who suffer from sexual abuse also present a higher risk of developing a sexual addiction. Seeking counseling that includes people who maintain an interpersonal relationship with the client, can help rebuild trust and intimacy that has been lost as a result of the compulsive sexual behavior. Together, both the client and the people affected, can get help for sexual addiction and begin the healing process.

Drug Treatment for Sexual Compulsion

If approved by a medical practitioner, drug therapy may be considered in conjunction with psychotherapy to treat sexual addiction. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and mood stabilizers have been shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of the impulsive behaviors suffered by some sex addicts. In more serious cases, gonadotropin-releasing hormone and chemical castration agents may be administered to reduce sexual drive. This course of action is usually reserved for forms of sexual addiction that lead to criminality, like people who are sexual predators. However, with a suitable reduction in the compulsions that drive the sexual behavior, these patients are better able to focus on therapeutic efforts.

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How to Handle Sexual Addiction

There is no single factor that causes sexual addiction. Research continues to focus on exploring potential risk factors and developing accurate screening and assessment tools for compulsive sexual disorders. What’s clear is that there are both personal and environmental factors that contribute to the development of sexual addiction. Prevention of sexual addiction may involve interventions that enhance self-esteem, address emotional problems, educate children about the dangers internet use, and screening out pornographic websites.

Establishing a support system is perhaps the most important step for anyone looking to overcome sex addiction. Empirical data suggests that the first year is often the hardest period for a sex addict. This is due to personal habits that can lead to withdrawal-like symptoms, a lifestyle that has been built to support sexually compulsive behavior, and the complications that can potentially arise as a result. However, getting freedom from sexual addiction is possible. Recovery is an ongoing process. For some, the path can be a difficult one. However, it is better to get help for sexual addiction than to face the challenge alone. Coping with sex addiction in isolation can lead to other issues, especially a sense of hopelessness if those efforts end in repeated failure.

Overcome Sexual Addiction

There is no simple answer on how to fix sexual addiction. If curing sex addiction is your goal, it takes time and relapses are not uncommon. However, if you’re ready to find a therapist for sexual addiction, HCH Therapy and Counseling can help. We provide individual sex therapy, as well as facilitating a sex addiction group for those who are interested. Sex addicts often benefit from the structure and support of recovery groups like Sexaholics Anonymous, Sexual Addiction Anonymous, and Sexual Compulsives Anonymous.

It is important to know that finding success may take multiple treatment attempts. Do not be discouraged by the journey. If you want to dig even deeper, need a sexual addiction treatment center near you, or are dealing with an emergency – you can also utilize the resources below:

Sexaholics Anonymous – (866) 424-8777
Sexual Addiction Anonymous – (800) 477-8191
Sexual Compulsives Anonymous – (800) 977-HEAL

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Get in Touch Now!

HCH Therapy and Counseling can help you find freedom from sexual addiction. My aim is to make all the mental health services I provide both accessible and affordable. I accept many insurances, and have variable payment options based on financial need. Get a free consultation, get a sense of what you might need, and learn what your options are.