This article was originally published on June 14, 2009 and updated on March 5, 2019.
Medications serve an important role in the treatment of mental disorders so I wondered, can medication help sex addicts stop acting out? One of the more interesting subjects is the role of chemicals in the brain and how imbalances may contribute to sexual addiction. While doing some research I had an insight into my husband’s recovery as a sex addict. My husband has refrained from visiting prostitutes for two years, which is stunning considering he could never go more than a few months before.
My Husband Started Wellbutrin to Stop Smoking
What is interesting is that about three years ago he started taking the medication Wellbutrin to help him stop smoking. Wellbutrin (Bupropion ) is actually an antidepressant but it has also been found to help smokers quit. He didn’t stop smoking but we did notice an improvement in his mood swings, so we had his doctor decided to continue the drug. When his moods started swinging again, the doctor increased his dosage and he has been remarkably stable ever since.
Then He Tried Chantix
Then, he tried Chantix (varenicline), which is another medication used to help people quit smoking. It targets nicotine receptors in the brain, attaches to them, and blocks nicotine from reaching them. It is believed that it also activates these receptors, causing a reduced release of dopamine–the pleasure chemical that apparently floods Sex Addict’s brains during the trance they experience prior to acting out. He took Chantix for two and a half months and this lifelong smoker has absolutely no desire to smoke any more.
Oddly, he had no desire to act out any more either. So, my question is, do you think that certain medications can help sex addicts stop acting out?
Now, this is only one person, but I do find it worth at least a look. Has anyone else had similar experiences with Sex Addicts?
If you have any ideas on the subject I would love to hear from you.
Compulsive Sexual Behavior Diagnosis and Treatment
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Medication definitely can help. In my husband’s case his addiction is almost like OCD, so any meds that tame that impulse help with the sex addiction, or compulsiveness.
Prozac helped him, but I’ve read of Wellbutrin helping too.
Simple anti-depressants in the right dose (sometimes takes a few cracks at it) can also relieve some of the emotional symptoms that increase SA vulnerabilities to their triggers or arousal templates.
Elsewhere I shared an observation from an article online that suggested that sex addiction is sexualized male depression. I don’t think you can make it disappear with anti-depressants, but the SA may not fail at sobriety as often, which increases hope and commitment for those who are really serious about recovery. It also makes them just easier to be around, whether you still live with them, or see them in small doses these days.
And on another note, but still about medication,
BTW For a laugh–if you have never seen Wanda Syke’s take on the research path to Viagra, it’s worth a search.
I have several years experience with medications both personally and with my husband. He had a psychotic episode from Wellbutrin – which apparently is a potentially rare side effect. He’s also been diagnosed as bipolar which some say explain his reaction to Wellbutrin as well as propensity to addictions both sex and drugs. He took Naltrexone/Revia from about June 2009 to January 2010. He started to have mood instability which led to him going off all medication. Low and behold he nearly immediately started acting out again and when he went back on Naltrexone/Revia upon becoming sober again in April … he hasn’t acted out since. It definitely seems to help and his sex drive is more like that of a “normal” person versus super escalated as a bipolar sex addict. My fear is what happens when it stops working as well or will he have to take it forever, etc. At this point it was more of a stabilization mechanism to get him some good recovery (not just clean) time. That first round he had that I mentioned when he went on it was just clean time – not recovery time. Now that he’s in recovery I could see it being more of a possibility for him to not rely on medications forever. There’s hope … and I think medications can really help get people some time under their belts, build confidence and clear the mind for long enough to get a decent recovery program started.