Is there really a drug that could cure sex addiction? According to several studies, naltrexone, a long-acting opioid antagonist that is most commonly used in the treatment of alcohol addiction, and more recently opioid addiction, may also be able to help cure sex addiction.
Naltrexone and Alcohol Addiction
For alcoholics, naltrexone limits the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, which as a result, reduces the pleasure associated with drinking. According to a PubMed study, about 70% of patients who used naltrexone said it helped them reduce “heavy or excessive drinking.”
Research on Naltrexone and Sex Addiction
Considerable research proves naltrexone to also be a potential treatment for sex addiction. The drug has been found to suppress sexual behaviors such as masturbation, exhibitionism, compulsive touching of sexual organs, and spontaneous erections.
Naltrexone May Help With Sex Addiction
So why is naltrexone so effective as a potential treatment for alcohol and sex addiction? To fully understand this, it is important to understand addiction and its effects on the brain. Addiction is defined as a compulsive need for, and use, of a habit-forming substance or behavior. Addiction affects the brain and causes it to have a malfunctioning reward center. People that have sex addictions have these altered reward centers and as a result, struggle to control their urges or thoughts that involve sexual acts. Researchers say naltrexone is strong enough to treat the brain, the root of all addictions, because it has a powerful effect on both dopamine levels and the brain’s reward system.
Is Naltrexone a Cure for Sex Addiction?
While some studies have shown that naltrexone can be a promising option to treat sex addiction, there is still more research that needs to be done in order for it to be considered a cure. Naltrexone may also not work for every sex addict. The reason for this is that the extent and severity of the addiction can vary dramatically from one individual to another. Typically, psychological counseling, 12-step programs, or sex addiction therapy are often used to help combat the addiction. While these efforts are effective for some people, there are many who continue to relapse after completing these treatment methods and programs. In these cases, naltrexone may be an alternative solution.