Experts estimate that about 12 million Americans have sex addictions. Undoubtedly, some of them will seek rehabilitation for these addictions. But does sex rehab work?
Yes, sex rehab works, as long as the person with the addiction is willing to commit to uncovering the reason behind their addiction and unlearning harmful behaviors.
There are many types of recovery for sex addiction, but they all have the same goal. They provide you and your loved ones with the tools you need to stop your addiction so that you can live a balanced life.
Understanding Sex Addiction
Sex addiction is an excessive preoccupation with sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors that a person can’t control. It causes them severe emotional distress and can negatively affect their mental and physical health, job, and relationships. It essentially seeps into every part of their lives.
Trauma causes sex addiction. Trauma is complex, and it manifests itself differently in every person’s life. For those with sex addiction, when they experience trauma, they seek to regain a sense of control and feel better. Masturbation and sexual stimulation fulfill both of those needs. You regain a sense of control over what is happening because you can control your sexual choices. You feel better because sexual stimulation produces dopamine.
Dopamine is a feel-good neurotransmitter that makes you feel better in times of stress or overwhelm. You also get dopamine from eating fatty foods, drinking alcohol, or using drugs. The issue is when you continually use a particular way to get dopamine. Your brain learns that it needs that stimulation to feel better. Therefore, it becomes instinctual. It becomes rooted in your behaviors.
When a person with sex addiction experiences something negative, they turn to sexual outlets to feel better. Sex addiction has deep roots in your past and your identity. Even if you’re not aware of it, this is why the goal of sex rehab is to get to the root cause of your addiction.
Signs You or Your Partner Need Sex Rehab
Sex addiction is unique to each person. But there are warning signs that your compulsive behaviors are out of control.
Showing these symptoms may mean sex rehab is necessary:
- Engaging in risky sexual acts that could lead to contracting an infection or legal issues
- Promiscuous sexual acts with anonymous partners or sex workers
- Compulsive use of porn or masturbation may prevent completing daily responsibilities
- Unfaithfulness to the relationship, often repeatedly
- Inability to stop engaging in sexual behaviors despite trying
- Secretive sexual behaviors
- Lacking the ability to set limits or boundaries around sexual activities
- Spending an excessive amount of time or money pursuing sexual partners or on hook-up apps
- Intensifying high-risk sexual activities to achieve the same dopamine high
- A sense of guilt, shame, or depression around your sexual behaviors
When you or your partner feel genuinely out of control of sexual behaviors, you need help and support. Sex rehab allows you to heal from the inside out.
Types of Sex Rehab
You’re ready to go to sex rehab. But there are so many programs to choose from that you may feel overwhelmed. Knowing what the options are may help you select the right sex rehab program for you.
The 12-step sex addiction program is commonly referred to as “Sex Addicts Anonymous.” Their goal is to stop compulsive sexual behaviors. They follow a similar recovery model as Alcoholics Anonymous. An outpatient option, you attend meetings at your own pace to give you the tools to stop the symptoms of sex addiction.
Doctors can prescribe antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, or other medicines to reduce sexual hormones. These medications can help reduce your urges and give you the ability to fight your addiction.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy treats problems by adjusting emotions, thoughts, and actions. CBT can help you identify triggers for sexual behavior. Being able to identify your triggers means you can work to control your sexual impulses better.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing enables you to heal from emotional distress resulting from distressing life experiences. EMDR therapy programs focus on memories, helping you identify the trauma that caused your addiction. Its goal is to change how the brain stores recollections.
Inpatient or residential programs seek to help sex addicts “reset.” They remove you from temptation and your daily environments. You’ll have the opportunity to start fresh and examine how you feel without sexual stimulation.
These are all great treatment options to consider for sexual addiction.
Goals of Sex Rehab
Regardless of the type of sex rehab you choose, your recovery is the goal. How rehabs get to that healing varies.
Sex rehabs may:
- Require a period of abstinence from problematic sexual behaviors
- Identify the root of the sexual addiction
- Provide tools for relapse prevention, such as trigger identification
- Connect you to a supportive recovery community
- Encourage you to engage in ongoing recovery and treatment
Successful recovery from sex addiction doesn’t mean that you’ll give up all sexual activity. On the contrary, it teaches you to seek healthy and emotionally stable sexual contact.
Finding a Good Rehab Facility
Not all sex rehab programs are equal. When you’re ready to take control of your sex addiction, you should be critical. Finding the right rehab facility for you gives you the best chance of recovery.
When looking for a sex rehab, consider:
- Focus. Sex addiction rehab is complex and requires deep knowledge and focus. Seek a center that is devoted to sexual addictions to ensure you get the best-informed care.
- Trauma-Informed Care. Trauma causes sex addiction. It can impact every aspect of your life. Therefore, a sex rehab program should be not only trauma-focused but also holistically-minded. This way, you heal from the inside out.
- Certification. Not every mental health practitioner is certified to work with people with sex addictions. Having specialized training means your treatment team will understand your needs and give you the support you deserve.
- Ongoing Support. Sex addiction touches every part of your life. Regardless of which program you choose, you should find one that cares about your life and relationships outside of sex rehab. Ongoing support and family/partner support programs mean your healing will continue long after your program.
Let Begin Again Institute Help
At Begin Again Institute, we are committed to helping you recover from your sex addiction. You’ll have the best opportunity to heal at our trauma-informed, holistic sex addiction treatment center.
All of our programs work together to help all aspects of your life. Our 14-Day Men’s Intensive allows you to reset and start your healing. At the same time, your partner can attend our Partner Support Program to heal from their betrayal trauma. They’ll also learn how to help support you after your intensive.
Our Continuing Care Membership means that your healing doesn’t end after just two weeks. You’ll have ongoing access to support meetings, therapy, and treatment methods. This continuing care is to help ensure you can enter lifelong remission.
If you or your loved one is struggling with sex addiction, reach out to us today.