Generally, sex addiction treatment utilizes the same basic strategies and techniques that work with drug and alcohol addiction. For the most part, early treatment focuses on breaking through denial, managing the crisis or crises that drove the addict into recovery, and relapse prevention. Techniques typically include individual and group therapy – most often a highly directive, behaviorally focused form of psychotherapy like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – coupled with education, social learning, 12-step and other addiction-focused social support, and various alternative therapeutic modalities like art and movement therapies, psychodrama, exercise, meditation, etc. Following professional evaluation, some clients may also begin a trial-run of an antidepressant or antianxiety medication, as these medications sometimes help to reduce not only depression and anxiety, but cravings to act out sexually.
With most sex addicts, individual therapy is not enough. They also need external reinforcement and support i. Addiction-focused group therapy can be extremely helpful in this regard. Group therapy helps sex addicts learn that their problems are not unique, which goes a long way toward reducing the shame associated with their behaviors. It is also the ideal place to confront the denial that is so integral to sexual addiction. Addicts are also able to learn which interventions and coping mechanisms work best based on other members’ experiences.
In addition to individual and group therapy, sex addicts who are willing to push beyond their fear of “being seen” in a more public (though anonymous) setting nearly always benefit from 12-step sexual recovery meetings. Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA), Sexual Compulsives Anonymous (SCA), Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA), Sexaholics Anonymous (SA), and Sexual Recovery Anonymous (SRA) are nationwide programs for sex addicts.
Needless to say, every sex addict’s treatment arc is different. Each addict arrives with specific problematic sexual behaviors and a unique background, so each addict needs an approach tailored to his or her needs.
Help is Available
If you’re working with a sex addicted client who is struggling to establish and maintain sobriety, Seeking Integrity can help. For information about residential treatment, contact us via email or phone us at (747) 234-HEAL (4325).