A Guide to Sex Addiction Treatment & Rehab

Sex addiction is as complex as a chemical addiction and deserves the same care, love and support as would be afforded to anyone suffering from an uncontrollable attachment to a substance or behaviour.

Having the courage to make a change in your life or noticing that someone you love needs assistance can be scary, the stigma attached to any type of addiction or mental health issue may have prevented you from seeking help up to now.

We can assist you with understanding this often misunderstood disorder as well as guiding you in finding treatment.

Understanding Sex Addiction

Sex addiction is about more than just the act of having sex, and if you are suffering from a sex addiction you may have underlying issues that are driving your risky sexual behaviour.

Sex addiction includes any sexual activity that feels out of control, either with a partner, watching pornography, masturbation, using prostitutes or chat lines to achieve gratification. These urges can cause difficulties in relationships, with your finances as well as with your professional life.

If you are noticing a change or compulsion in your sexual needs, consider seeking help from a therapist, your GP or an addiction treatment facility that specialises in behavioural addictions.

Recognising the Signs of Sex Addiction

A healthy relationship with your sexual needs is normal and will involve healthy boundaries and be a positive part of your life, with an addiction you will spend a disproportionate amount of time seeking or engaging in sex or sexual activities while keeping your behaviour secret from your friends and loved ones.

The Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous UK (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous UK: You are not alone) has compiled a list of common characteristics you may recognise:

  1. Using sex to manipulate and control others
  2. Having more than one sexual liaison at a time
  3. Compulsively pursue a sexual release

For more, you can visit Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction | SLAA UK

Unfortunately, there is no clinical diagnosis for Sex Addiction in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)) despite the common characteristics you may share with chemical addiction:

Sex and sexual activity dominate your life as you continue to pursue the mental and physical effects you experience whilst engaged in sex, despite the negative consequences you experience and the feelings of regret, anxiety, depression, or shame you have following an encounter. (Signs and Symptoms of Sex Addiction)

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Treatment for Sex Addiction

Residential Rehab

Unlike a drug addiction or alcohol addiction, where the elimination of the chemical toxins and abstaining forever mean you are in recovery, engaging in a sexual relationship is, not surprisingly, something you may want to enjoy in the future. Learning how to achieve control over your urges, learning to avoid triggers and recognise the underlying causes comes through intensive therapy and self-help.

Your recovery in a private residential rehab will:

  • Remove you from your environment
  • Allow you to focus on your treatment in a supportive non-judgemental and caring environment
  • Provide you with the opportunity to address your needs, the causes underlying them and develop skills to cope once back home.
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    Rehabilitative Therapy

    Like drug addiction or alcohol addiction, sex addiction has the potential to negatively impact all aspects of your life and often has underlying causes such as:

    Addiction programmes that are multi-faceted, well-rounded and developed around you as an individual are believed to help in sex addiction treatment:

    • Psychosocial therapy
      Looking at how addiction-related behaviours are linked to social influences.
    • Cognitive-behavioural therapy
      Focusing on prevention and reshaping how you think about sexual behaviour.
    • Psychodynamic therapy
      Exploring how deeper emotions and thoughts are expressed through sexual behaviours.
    • Couple’s therapy
      Helping you and your partner understand sex addiction in your relationship.
    • Pharmacotherapy
      Using medications to treat other physical side effects or conditions linked with your sex addiction
    • Support networks
      Finding an outlet to discuss your treatment journey and the challenges you may face.

    Medical Assessment

    Sexual addiction has both physical and emotional manifestations and requires a healthcare professional to make a clear diagnosis. If your sex addiction is associated with a co-occurring mental health illness such as anxiety, medications may be prescribed as part of your treatment plan. (Signs and Symptoms of Sex Addiction)

    Outpatient Services

    Sex addiction is considered a controversial diagnosis and its lacking diagnostic criteria as well as evidence-based treatments, makes seeking help at a rehabilitation facility seem harder, you may also have other commitments to attend to and need a treatment programme that is outpatient based. (Signs and Symptoms of Sex Addiction)

    Some rehabilitation facilities offer behavioural addiction treatment as an outpatient, or there are private therapists, not for profit organisations and counselling through The NHS that can assist you with therapy and support. Being treated as an outpatient takes a lot of commitment and focus as you will be in daily contact with triggers and temptations.

    If you are needing urgent assistance and would like to receive treatment as a resident, please contact us.

    Paying for Treatment

    Treatment costs will depend on whether you choose a residential or outpatient treatment programme. Typically inpatient rehab can cost £2000-£3000 per week, as opposed to outpatient services which can cost as little as £40 per session (with a therapist).

    Advice on controlling your urges

    Taking control of any addiction is difficult and requires focus as well as determination to succeed. Although you may have learnt the reasons behind your sexual addiction, there are ways to help yourself stay in control when you are back in a familiar environment:

    • Install child locks on the devices you use, if you use online porn,
    • Avoid taking your phone to places where you may be alone and able to act out.
    • If you can’t work with a private therapist because of financial or other reasons, try to get counselling through the NHS, with a counsellor experienced in the field.
    • Consider continuing a sex addiction 12-step programme.
    • Incorporate a new healthy hobby into your life
    • Concentrate on encouraging new skills and interests to help keep your focus on recovery. (FAQs)

    Support Groups are Useful

    Rehabilitation is only the first phase of your recovery and healing from addiction, having long-term involvement in therapy and with support groups such as:

    Sex Addicts Anonymous (Sex Addicts Anonymous – SAA) offers peer support groups for people with sex addiction following the 12-step principles. Meetings are free and held all around the UK.

    Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous UK: You are not alone) offers peer support groups for people with sex and/or love addiction following the 12-step principles. Meetings are free and held all around the UK.

    Sexaholics Anonymous (Sexaholics Anonymous UK: Get help for lust, pornography, and sex addiction – SAUK) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experiences, strength, and hope with each other so that they may solve their common problems and help others to recover. Meetings are free and held all around the UK.

    COSA (COSA-Recovery) is a 12-step recovery program for men and women whose lives have been affected by compulsive sexual behaviour. Meetings are free and held all around the UK.

    Sex Addiction Treatment & Rehab FAQ
    You may have a lot of questions about treatment for sex addiction. If you are unable to find the answer below please give us a call and speak to one of our addiction specialists today.
    Does the NHS provide help for Sex Addiction?
    Since Sex Addiction is not a recognised diagnosis in the DSM-5, the NHS can only offer to counsel for addiction as well as offering information and support for sex addiction through non-profits.
    Am I a Sex Offender if I’m Addicted to Sex
    The public misconception has also led to a belief that sex offenders are sex addicts, in extreme cases stalking, rape or child molestation may occur, but there is no evidence that addiction alone leads to sexual offences. (Sex Addiction: 8 Signs to Look For)
    Is rehab confidential?
    Any rehabilitation programme is confidential unless there is a risk of harm to yourself or others.
    How long should I attend rehab?
    You would benefit from an intensive rehabilitation programme of 28 days, this gives you the time to focus on your recovery and build a solid foundation for life back home.
    Can you force someone into rehab?
    Finding out your loved one is addicted to sex can induce feelings of intense betrayal, shock, anger, shame, self-doubt, loss and fear. This may cause you to assign blame on your partner, but forcing them into rehab through blame and guilt may not succeed. They may also be in denial and contacting a help facility for advice on how to approach the conversation and gently guiding your loved one towards seeking help will provide a better outcome.