Once you have determined that you or someone you love has a sex addiction, or out of control sexual behavior, leaving it untreated is as harmful as leaving any other addiction or out of control behavior untreated.
In treating any addiction, or out of control behavior, there are many different therapies commonly used and it is important to review them to choose the best option. Oftentimes a combination of two or more options is the most helpful since the goal is not abstinence but rather it is developing healthy sexual practices.
Many people seek out Individual Therapy to deal with sexual addiction or out of control sexual behavior. The benefits of individual therapy is that the underlying issues causing the unwanted behavior can be identified and addressed. Once the contributing factors are addressed, managing the triggers becomes easier. However, the downside is that it may take time to address the issues and there is no daily assistance in managing triggers or peer input on behaviors.
Some people opt for In-Patient Treatment allowing for a more concentrated treatment in a controlled environment, eliminating opportunities to engage in addictive or out of control behavior. In-patient treatment usually utilizes individual therapy, group therapy and a 12 step program based on the Alcoholics Anonymous model. While the combination of treatments and the controlled environment ensures success, the downside is that there is no guarantee that healthy sexual behavior will continue once the person returns to a more familiar environment.
Group Therapy is another option. The peer support system in group therapy is beneficial and the therapeutic knowledge of the facilitator, who is a licensed psychotherapist, is also very helpful. Group therapy combined with intermittent individual counseling where specific issues can be addressed has proven to be a very successful option for treating sex addiction or out of control sexual behavior
Some people opt for a Support Group such as SAA, SA or SLA. These groups usually use a 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous format and are run by peers. In some groups participants decide for themselves what their healthy sexual behavior will consist of while in other groups, members opt for a very specific and strict view of healthy sexual behavior. While these groups do offer peer support, the downside is that they lack the guidance of trained professionals and the definition of healthy sexual behavior according to some groups may not fit the needs of all individuals.
Drug therapy is also sometimes used in conjunction to treat sexual addiction or out of control sexual behavior. Certain SSRIs can reduce the frequency and intensity of urges to engage in unwanted behaviors. Additionally, drug therapy should always be used in conjunction with psychotherapy since all drug therapy does is suppress urges. In addition to decreasing a person’s sex driving altogether, the downside is that these medications do have side effects, making it difficult to develop healthy sexual behavior.
Most importantly, once you have made your decision on the type of intervention to use, be patient. Sexual addiction or out of control sexual behavior did not develop overnight and it may take time, along with more than one attempt, to develop the healthy sexual behavior that you are looking for.