Floyd Godfrey, PhD


How Antidepressants Can Help in the Struggle Against Sex Addiction

Floyd Godfrey, PhD

Sex addiction, a pervasive issue affecting numerous individuals globally, poses a substantial challenge to mental health professionals and those directly experiencing its impact. While therapeutic and counseling interventions are primary strategies for addressing sex addiction, pharmacotherapy, including the use of antidepressants, has emerged as a supportive measure in managing this complex condition.

Understanding Sex Addiction

Sex addiction involves persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behavior despite increasing negative consequences to the individual’s health, relationships, and functioning. Researchers like Carnes (2001) and Hilton (2014) have highlighted that the neurological pathways involved in sex addiction share similarities with substance dependence, involving the dysregulation of brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.

The Role of Antidepressants

Antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been found to play a beneficial role in the treatment of sex addiction. SSRIs help by modulating serotonin levels in the brain, which can reduce the compulsive behaviors associated with sex addiction. For instance, studies have shown that SSRIs can decrease sexual preoccupation and help manage underlying mood disorders, often co-occurring with addictive behaviors (Kafka, 2010).

Integrating Pharmacological Treatments with Therapy

While antidepressants can provide symptomatic relief, they are most effective when used in conjunction with behavioral therapies. Therapeutic interventions, as advocated by experts like Doug Weiss and Kevin Skinner, emphasize the importance of integrating pharmacological treatment with counseling to address both the psychological and biological aspects of addiction. This dual approach ensures a more comprehensive treatment strategy, focusing on the addict’s overall well-being and recovery.

Case Studies and Evidence

The efficacy of combining medication with therapy is supported by various case studies and clinical trials. For example, a pilot study by Kafka (2007) on the use of SSRIs in treating sex addiction reported significant reductions in sexual compulsivity among participants. This aligns with the therapeutic models proposed by Weiss (2013), which suggest that managing biochemical imbalances can enhance cognitive-behavioral strategies, leading to improved recovery outcomes.


Pharmacotherapy, particularly through the use of antidepressants, offers a valuable tool in the multifaceted treatment of sex addiction. By stabilizing mood and reducing impulsivity, antidepressants support the therapeutic journey towards recovery. As sex addiction continues to be studied, the integration of medication with personalized therapeutic practices stands as a beacon of hope for many affected by this challenging condition.

Floyd Godfrey, PhD, is a Clinical Sexologist and a Certified Sex Addiction Specialist. He has been guiding clients since 2000 and currently speaks and provides consulting and mental health coaching across the globe. To learn more about Floyd Godfrey, PhD, please visit his website: www.FloydGodfrey.com.


Carnes, P. (2001). Out of the shadows: Understanding sexual addiction. Hazelden Publishing.

Hilton, D. L. (2014). Pornography addiction: A neuroscience perspective. Surgical Neurology International, 5, 52.

Kafka, M. P. (2007). Serotonin reuptake inhibitor-induced sexual dysfunction and its treatment: A large-scale retrospective study of 596 psychiatric outpatients. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 23(3), 165-175.

Kafka, M. P. (2010). Hypersexual disorder: A proposed diagnosis for DSM-V. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39(2), 377-400.

Weiss, D. (2013). Sex addiction as affect dysregulation: A neurobiologically informed holistic treatment. Guilford Press.

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