What is Sex Addiction?

If compulsive sexual behaviors are causing harm to your personal relationships, work life or physical health (like unintended pregnancies, STDs and incest), it may be time for you to talk with a healthcare professional who understands sex addiction. There is no exact diagnosis for sex addiction, but some treatment options are available.

Some people struggle with sex addiction because of issues in their relationships or family, like infidelity or abusive parents. This can lead to isolation, loss of work or social engagement and other emotional difficulties. Others struggle with sex addiction because of their own internal issues, such as feelings of shame or low self-worth that lead them to engage in risky sexual behavior. Other causes of sex addiction include past experiences of trauma, including attachment-related childhood trauma (like physical or emotional abuse) and parental enmeshment or neglect, which can result in a feeling of unworthiness.

Treatment for sex addiction is similar to that for other addictions, with the emphasis on changing your behavior to address underlying issues. It’s important to note that many people with sex addiction are also dealing with mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression. In those cases, it’s often recommended to consider therapy in conjunction with medication to manage symptoms.

Some people with sex addiction will benefit from inpatient treatment, which removes them from their daily lives for 30 days or more to help them focus on healing and regain control of impulses. Many rehab centers offer sex addiction recovery programs, which follow a 12-step model similar to Alcoholics Anonymous.

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