Recovering From Sex Addiction

Despite the ugliness of sex addiction and the downward spiral it causes, it is possible to recover. The key is finding a therapist with experience in couples and family therapy, but who also has advanced training in sex addiction and intimacy disorders.

Like gambling compulsion or alcoholism, sex addiction involves devoting one’s time to an addictive behavior that they cannot stop, even when the behavior is destructive to their relationships and career. This could include obsessive masturbation, voyeurism, having affairs, excessively using pornography or sleeping with prostitutes. Almost all forms of sexual addiction involve the release of dopamine, a natural chemical produced by nerve cells in the mesolimbic reward system. But the difference between sex addiction and other types of compulsive sexual behavior is that people with sex addiction are unable to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy impulses and regulate their behaviors.

The roots of sex addiction are complex and often linked to childhood trauma, especially abuse related to physical, emotional or sexual intimacy and attachment. These issues can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety or negative self-worth. They may also contribute to an underlying problem with attachment or the ability to form healthy interpersonal relationships.

In treatment, a therapist will work with the person in recovery to unravel the origins of their damaging behavior and help them build skills for regulating their impulses. This will involve individual and group therapy, educational classes and recreational activities. For some patients, residential treatment may be the most appropriate option. sex addiction san diego