The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity (ATSAC) is a nonprofit United Kingdom organization that provides information on sex addiction and compulsivity and offers support to those who may be experiencing the condition.
Sex addiction, which was first addressed as a mental health condition in the 1980s, can come to take over a person’s life, affecting relationships, jobs, and everyday life. Between 6 and 8% of the United States population and between 6 and 20% of the UK population are estimated to be affected by sex addiction. When this condition is not treated, it may impact a person’s life in the same manner as any other addiction, leading them to justify addictive thoughts and behavior and spend large amounts of time and money pursuing the addiction. Many of those who are addicted lose friendships, family members, or partners as a result of their condition. Both men and women can become addicted to sex, and though a person who is addicted may engage in illegal activities such as prostitution or stalking, the condition does not always indicate illegal sexual practices. Similarly, no particular type of sexual behavior denotes a sexual addiction. An addiction is defined by compulsive, uncontrollable sexual behavior: A person who is addicted to sex typically cannot stop the behavior, or prevent it from recurring, without treatment.
ATSAC recognizes that sex addiction is a growing psychological issue that has the potential to devastate lives, and the organization is committed to providing information, treatment options, and hope to people who experience a sex addiction and those who love them. Services of the organization include training programs, courses, and workshops. They also work to connect individuals seeking treatment across the UK with therapists who specialize in treating sex addiction and various recovery programs. ATSAC also offers support to partners who experience the effects of their loved ones’ addiction.
The various courses that ATSAC offers through their training programs provide professional standards and are designed to help those therapists who choose to specialize in the field of sex addiction and compulsive sexual behaviors develop and explore methods to treat the condition. The intensive training program covers a range of topics such as cognitive behavioral therapy for sexual addiction, the neuroscience of addiction, cross addictions and comorbid conditions, and the therapeutic alliance during treatment of sexual addiction, to name a few. Courses are taught by Thaddeus Birchard, who is described as the “pioneer” in the field of sexual addiction in the UK, and other specialists from the Marylebone Centre.