What Is Sex Addiction Treatment And Does It Work?

Updated August 27, 2020
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Debra Halseth, LCSW

Millions of people struggle with sex addiction, and it makes it tough for them to live their lives normally. Sex addiction can hold you back in life because you’re constantly battling powerful sexual urges and other mental health issues. Your mental health can suffer in various ways when you have a sex addiction, and you might be wondering how you’re ever going to get things back to normal. Thankfully, there are treatments for sex addiction that have proven to be quite effective. Take a look at the sex addiction treatment options below, and you’ll learn about how well they work as well as finding out about other things that you should consider about your mental health.

Source: rawpixel.com

12-Step Programs

12-step programs have been created to help people deal with sex addiction problems. Many people who are recovering from sex addiction will enter a type of support group that mirrors 12-step programs for alcoholism. The basic idea is that there are steps to recovery, and going through each step is going to help you to find success. Many of these programs have helped people to find long-term solutions to their sex addiction problems and have helped them with mental health issues, too. If you feel like you need support, then a 12-step group could be very positive for your mental health and is an addiction treatment option that is worth looking into.

It isn’t generally recommended to use only 12-step groups on the road to recovering from sex addiction. They can be helpful, but they won’t be able to help you solve all of your underlying mental health issues. You should work with mental health professionals who understand sex addiction and all of its intricacies as well. Some 12-step programs will be run by therapists, but others might be run by recovered addicts who have found success using 12-step methods. Your therapist might even recommend an addiction treatment group to you if you’re interested in using a group as a support system.

In many ways, you can see 12-step programs for sex addiction as a pillar of support. This isn’t necessarily the silver bullet treatment option for sex addiction that you’re looking for, but it’s an excellent way to keep yourself on the right path. You can speak to other people who have been going through mental health struggles that mirror your own. This gives you a chance to gain strength from others while also supporting other people who are on their own sex addiction and mental health recovery journey. A good 12-step program for sex addiction will be very positive while also holding people accountable for their actions.


Therapy is the most common treatment for sex addiction, and it’s what most mental health professionals are going to recommend. Sex addiction is a mental health issue, and it’s something that you can overcome with the help of a therapist. Some therapists specialize in helping people deal with sex addiction, and they understand the core of what causes these addictions to form. One person’s sex addiction is not necessarily going to be similar to another sex addiction, so this treatment option is very personal. A sex addiction therapist will work with you to figure out what’s going on while they try to get to the bottom of why you’re feeling the way that you are.

Getting treatment for sex addiction like this will allow you to improve your mental health over time. Addiction treatment is something that many therapists specialize in, and they understand how to help you cope with your urges while promoting positive mental health. Using this type of addiction treatment should help you to get things under control, and you’ll notice your mental health steadily improve as you attend sessions. There are many methods that a therapist might use, too. For instance, many therapists will use a cognitive-behavioral approach to therapy, but it can also involve discussing emotional problems that could be contributing to your sex addiction. Each therapist will have their own methods, and you can count on mental health experts like this to work with you closely to understand your sex addiction.

Regular therapy sessions might help you to feel stronger and develop better mental health habits. Your mental health will get on track, and you will not have to worry about sex addiction quite as much. It’s important to note that improvements do not happen overnight, though. It takes time to work with a therapist to solve mental health issues and overcome sex addiction. You might need to attend therapy for a long time to work through mental health problems, and your sexual urges might need to be suppressed using coping mechanisms that your therapist will teach you.

Medical Treatments

Source: pexels.com

Medical treatments are also available to help people who struggle with sex addiction and other mental health issues. Sometimes sex addiction is indicative of other problems such as bipolar disorder or other mood conditions. There are instances where medical treatments, such as mood stabilizers, can work wonders. Not everyone who has a sex addiction will be prescribed medication, but there are instances where medication has proven useful. Mental health medications might help certain people to think clearly, and this can lead to them having an easier time controlling sexual urges.

If you have a sex addiction problem, then it’s worthwhile to speak to your doctor about what is going on. Sometimes medicine can help people who are dealing with sex addiction issues, and it is worth discussing your options. You could be dealing with depression or other mental health issues due to what you’re experiencing. This might be something that you can use in conjunction with therapy, but that can be determined by your doctor and your therapist. It’s just important to speak to mental health professionals about your sex addiction and circumstances to move forward properly.

Abstinence Programs

There are some instances where people with sex addiction issues have used abstinence programs to help with recovery. Some of these programs are run by religious organizations, and they have proven to be helpful for specific individuals who are having sexual behavior. It’s worth noting that some of these addiction treatment programs promote total abstinence as a way to avoid sexual addiction issues moving forward. Most therapists contend that sexual abstinence is unnecessary and that it’s better to develop healthy sexual habits rather than to avoid sex completely. Regardless, you might be drawn to abstinence-related addiction treatment programs if you find certain religious teachings to mesh with your world views.

Some people feel that abstinence is the right way to avoid problems with sexual behavior. If your sexual behavior has become unusual and it doesn’t reflect who you want to be as a person, then looking into a program like this might help. It makes sense for religious individuals who are going through sexual addiction issues. You can get your sexual behavior back on track and then try to stay on that path with the help of those in the program. These sex addiction treatment programs might be similar to 12-step programs in some ways, but many of them will also include religious elements.

How Well Do Treatments Work?

Treatments seem to work really well overall, and those who commit to the process can overcome sexual addiction. It is most important to recognize that sexual addiction is a mental health issue that is very treatable. Some professionals contend that all addiction issues stem from other types of mental health problems. Having a sex addiction is something that can put you in a tough spot, but it isn’t something that has to ruin your life. You can seek out treatment before things get too bad, and you can get your mental health issues under control.

Just remember that having sexual urges isn’t unusual and that it might not be possible to get those urges to disappear completely. Sex addiction treatment options are often about learning how to control your urges and emotions so that you can lead a healthy life. Mental health issues can be complicated, and that’s why it’s so crucial to navigate issues like this with mental health professionals. Your sex addiction can be taken care of so long as you take the time to reach out and get help.

Consider Online Therapy

Source: rawpixel.com

Considering online therapy might be in your best interests if you’re looking for a discreet way to handle your sex addiction problem. Online therapy has proven to be an excellent resource for individuals who want to get help with mental health issues without having to leave the house. You can talk to a licensed therapist from the comfort of home and work through your sex addiction problems conveniently. Methods like this offer the same high-quality cognitive-behavioral therapy approach as in-person therapy sessions. Some people will prefer in-person therapy with a local therapist, but knowing that you have options is great.

Know That Sex Addiction Is Common

Some people struggle to come to terms with the fact that they have a sex addiction. You should know that sex addiction is something that is very common overall and that it’s a mental health problem. Recent surveys have shown that nearly 10% of men might have a sex addiction of some kind. This isn’t a mental health issue that makes you unusual, and you don’t have to be ashamed about needing to get help. Seeking out sex addiction treatment is a great way to improve your life. Your mental health will improve once you deal with sex addiction properly, and you’ll be able to focus on what matters once again.

This is an issue that impacts many people’s lives, and it has the potential to hurt your life quite a bit. Sometimes sex addiction can start out harmless enough, and it can balloon into a terrible mental health problem. There are many sex addicts out there who start ignoring life responsibilities just to seek out sex. It’s a mental health problem, and you need to know that the above addiction treatment options are available to help you. If you feel like your life is spiraling out of control due to sex addiction, then mental health addiction treatment experts will be there for you. You don’t have to suffer alone, and you can get your mental health back on track.

Helpful mental health resources delivered to your inbox
For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns
Speak with a Licensed Therapist
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.