(American Addiction Centers (AAC) does not treat sex addiction.)
Sex addiction is a growing problem in society today that it is often less talked about than addictions to drugs or alcohol. But if you are facing an addiction to sex, you are not alone. Research shows that the prevalence of sexual addiction–related disorders ranges from 3% to 6% in the general population.1 Many people struggle with behavioral addictions such as compulsive sexual behavior, so finding treatment is important, because like any other addiction, an addiction to sex can result in escalating behaviors that negatively affect a person’s relationships, work, or school.
Although compulsive sexual behavior, hypersexuality, hypersexual disorder, nymphomania, and sexual addiction are not listed as a formal addictions in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), treatment professionals recognize that people do struggle with these issues. One of the problems in diagnosing sexual addiction, however, is that not everyone presents with the same symptoms of the disorder, and many people try to hide their addiction.2
[content-overview]One easy step toward finding help is calling a confidential helpline. Sometimes people are nervous to do so because they don’t know what that entails. Here, you’ll learn what a helpline does and receive several options to try.[/content-overview]
Is Calling a Helpline Beneficial?
It can be hard to talk about your issue given the secrecy and shame that often surrounds this behavioral health disorder. But when you are open to sharing what you’re going through, you may discover there are many people who are there to help you.
Helplines are a free and confidential way to talk to someone about what you’re going through. When you begin looking for helplines, try to find ones that are from reputable sites. A good place to start is by looking for helplines listed on pages that end in .gov or the ones listed on this page. Almost all helplines are operated by volunteers or staff members who specialize in treating addiction or supporting you in finding treatment.
Most of the people who work the helplines have first-hand experience with addiction or know a lot about it. The purpose of a helpline is to offer you non-judgmental support and resources. In fact, the information that you can find through a helpline could save your life.
Calling a helpline to talk about your behavioral addiction is a productive step toward recovery: It reminds you that you aren’t alone, which is important if you have kept it hidden from your family and friends and ended up feeling isolated and hopeless.
Behavioral health refers to a person’s state of being and how their behaviors and choices affect their overall health and wellness. Behavioral health disorders are illnesses that are precipitated or perpetuated by your conscious decisions, the behaviors of which you are unable to resist the urge to repeat, despite negative consequences. Changing your behaviors directly influences your life, then, by lessening or removing the symptoms of the behavioral addiction. Read More
Various Resources and Listings
If you are struggling with a behavioral health issue, there’s a chance that you may also be dealing with other issues such as a drug addiction, alcohol dependency, eating disorder, or another behavioral addiction such as gambling or shopping. In some cases, people who struggle with a sex addiction also have a mental health disorder such as depression that may be fueling their sex addiction. If this is true for you or a loved one, talking to someone can help you find a way to address your other addictions and any mental health issues you are facing.
While AAC does not offer treatment for behavioral health issues, here is a list of rehab and sex addiction helplines that can assist you at any point in your treatment journey. There are people who understand what you are going through and are ready and willing to help you.
- Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA): SAA is a group that follows the 12-step tradition. SAA is open to people of any gender and sexual identity or orientation: .
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline: This free and confidential helpline is offered in English and Spanish 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This is an information service for addicted individuals and family members who are dealing with mental health, behavioral health, and substance use disorders. This helpline also provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations: (800) 662-HELP (4357).
- New York City Intergroup of Sex Addicts Anonymous: This group of recovered sex addicts and volunteers runs a general 24/7 helpline that both men and women can call:
- New York City Intergroup of Sex Addicts Anonymous (Women’s Only Helpline): This group also offers a helpline if a woman would like to talk to another woman. They answer calls and texts and are available 24/7: (347) 987-0627.
- The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT)
- The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH)
If you or someone you love is struggling with sexual addiction, it is often difficult to overcome the stigma and fear that keep many from reaching out for help. Maybe you are afraid of judgment from family or peers, but sexual addiction is something you don’t have to deal with alone. Reach out to someone today.
***AAC does not treat sex addiction.
- Karila, L., Wéry, A., Weinstein, A., Cottencin, O., Petit, A., Reynaud, M. & Billieux, J. (2014). Sexual addiction or hypersexual disorder: different terms for the same problem? A review of the literature. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 20(25), 4012–4020.
- Fong, T. W. (2006). Understanding and managing compulsive sexual behaviors. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 3(11), 51–8.