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Chronic and excessive activation of certain pathways within the reward system and the accumulation of ΔFos B in a specific group of neurons within the nucleus accumbens has been directly implicated in the development of the compulsive behavior that characterizes addiction.In humans, a dopamine dysregulation syndrome, characterized by drug-induced compulsive engagement in sexual activity or gambling, has also been observed in some individuals taking dopaminergic medications.
Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSAT) – a group of sexual addiction therapists certified by the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals – offer specialized behavioral therapy designed specifically for sexual addiction.
In places where none of the above are available, open meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous may be a second-best option.
Indeed, some practitioners regard sex addiction to be a potentially harmful diagnosis and draw parallels with gay conversion therapy.
As a result, treatment for sex addiction is more often provided by addiction professionals than psychosexual specialists.
Some mental health providers have proposed various, but similar, criteria for diagnosing sexual addiction, including Patrick Carnes, Carnes authored the first clinical book about sex addiction in 1983, based on his own empirical research.
His diagnostic model is still largely utilized by the thousands of certified sex addiction therapists (CSATs) trained by the organization he founded.
Support groups may be useful for uninsured or under-insured individuals.
(See also: Alcoholics Anonymous § Health-care costs.) They may also be useful as an adjunct to professional treatment.
Finally, they may be useful for patients who are reluctant to spend money on professional treatment.
The term "pre-exposure prophylaxis" (Pr EP) is generally used to refer to the use of antiviral drugs which can help in prevention of HIV/AIDS. Treatment options include psychotherapy and psychopharmacotherapy (i.e., medications) or a combination of both.
No diagnostic proposal for sex addiction has been adopted into any official government diagnostic manual, however.