Does Sex Addiction Rehab Really Work?

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Life with sex addiction is difficult. It impacts your relationships, job, and how you feel about yourself. You know something has to change, but does sex addiction rehab really work? Is it worth doing? 

Sex addiction rehab can help you uncover the cause of the addiction, better understand your behaviors, and stop the actions negatively impacting your life.

What is Sex Addiction?

Sex addiction is when a person can’t control their sexual urges, even when they try. It negatively impacts their relationships, health, finances, careers, and more. 

Like other addictions, sex addiction makes the person continue the behavior pattern, even when it has negative consequences. 

Sex addiction is an intimacy disorder. Other intimacy disorders include pornography and masturbation addiction.

Additional signs of sex addiction include:

  • Using Sex to Cope. Using sex to cope with negative emotions or to feel better.
  • Dishonesty. Lying about sexual behaviors.
  • Emotional Distress. Consistent stress, anxiety, guilt, and shame about the behavior.
  • Obsession. Fixation on sex and trying to secure the next experience. Spending increasingly more time on sexual pursuits to the point that it impacts other aspects of life.
  • Relationship Problems. Trust issues, fighting, and other relationship problems because of the behavior.
  • Risky or Unsafe Sex. Pursuit of intercourse without regard to personal health, safety, or relationships.
  • Mood Swings. Unpredictable moods or angry outbursts, usually as a sign of guilt or unhappiness about behaviors.
  • Financial Issues. Having financial or work-related issues because of the increasing amount of time or money spent on sex. 
  • Loss of Sexual Functioning. Erectile dysfunction or being unable to perform sexually, despite the addiction. Loss of interest in sex with your partner.

Sex addiction may result from attempts to cope with unresolved trauma and can co-occur with other mental health conditions. The addiction is unlikely to heal on its own, so treatment with a mental health professional is necessary to move into recovery.

Effectiveness of Sex Addiction Rehab

Sex addiction rehab is effective in helping people change their lives and live more in line with their values, beliefs, and authentic selves. But sex addiction can be a chronic condition. That means that once a person is in recovery, they’re always recovering. It’s not uncommon for people in recovery to relapse and need to start the process again.

The effectiveness of sex addiction rehab depends on the person’s willingness to commit to the program, their desire to change behaviors, and how much support they have during and after recovery. In other words, experts often say you get out of any type of rehab what you put into it.

The average amount of time a person considers themselves in active recovery from sex addiction is 3.4 years.

Treatment Approaches

Sex addiction rehab uses varying treatment approaches, depending on your individual needs. 

Treatment may include:

  • Individual Therapy. Individual therapy applies methods like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help identify harmful thought patterns and behaviors, then works to create new thought patterns through goals and healthful habits. 
  • Meditation and Mindfulness. This allows you to relearn how to process trauma and handle current stressors without seeking out negative behaviors.
  • Group Therapy. Participating in group sessions with other people with sex addiction can provide support and accountability.
  • 12-Step Programs. Programs like Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) or Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) follow a similar structure to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and provide a supportive environment for people to share their experiences and work through recovery steps.
  • Family Therapy. Involving family members in therapy can help address relationship issues and rebuild trust.

The best treatment approaches include individual and group therapy. It also should include some type of after care plan or continued accountability program.

Choosing the Right Rehab Program

Seeking treatment for sex addiction is crucial to healing. Sex addiction rehab programs vary widely in format and offerings. The program you choose should be the right fit for your needs. 

To choose a sex addiction rehab program, consider:

  • Your Needs. How severe is your addiction? What type of underlying issues or other mental health issues might you be dealing with? Understanding the severity of your situation can help you determine what type of program you should look for.
  • Program Types. Understand the types of programs available, including inpatient, outpatient, residential, traditional counseling, and even online therapy. What type of program makes the most sense for your life and situation?
  • Treatment Approaches. You may feel more comfortable with some types of treatments and not others. Look for programs that specialize in the treatment you think best suits your needs, or that specialize in treating sex addiction.
  • Qualifications and Credentials. Look to see if the program is accredited and read about its staff and their qualifications. Make sure the program is legitimate, and their staff is trained in treating sex addiction.
  • Treatment Philosophy. Does the program’s philosophy regarding treatment align with your values and beliefs? If not, it probably isn’t the program for you.
  • Feasibility. Is the program feasible for you? Treatment can be quite expensive and long. Some programs may require you to pay thousands of dollars for residential programs that last a month. Others may be located in another state. Consider whether the treatment program is feasible for you, based on your other obligations, like work and financial limitations.
  • Reviews. Take time to read reviews or testimonials from other people who completed the program you’re considering. What was their experience like? Don’t just read the reviews on the official website. Google the program and see what you can find.
  • Look for Continued Support. Since you know that recovery is ongoing, consider what kind of support the program offers after you complete the requirements. What kind of aftercare options do they recommend and provide?

Find Help With All Counseling

You can recover from sex addiction, but it will likely require some type of therapy. You may need to heal from the addiction and the underlying issue that caused it. You also may have other coexisting mental health concerns that require professional treatment. Therefore, it’s best to talk with a mental health professional to determine the best course of action.

f you would like to find a therapist who specializes in sex addiction, All Counseling can help. Search our therapist directory for mental health professionals near you who specialize in this unique type of addiction.