Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Erectile dysfunction is considered to be one of the most effective types of therapy. These could include sexual performance anxiety, insecurities or low self esteem and loss of sexual desire or libido. The way that CBT works is that it addresses unhelpful thought patterns and behavior and is especially beneficial for those that have ED symptoms due to psychological factors. It has a very goal-oriented approach that provides patients with the tools needed to approach their diagnosis and condition comfortably.
Sexual function or ones sex life can be greatly affected by Erectile Dysfunction – one of the consequences is the negative effect on psychological health. Due to the fact that sexual health and sexual wellness are greatly stigmatized, many individuals don’t seek out help for a long time which can contribute to their mental health negatively as well.
Oftentimes psychological therapy – one of the many treatment options available for ED – also provides much needed sexual and psychosexual health education. Understanding mindful focus, improving attitudes towards sex, understanding constructive communication and encouraging positive beliefs about sex is part of psychological counselling.
The treatment outcome of CBT depends on the course and type of simultaneous treatments (if and wherever required) that are also prescribed by health care professionals. These could include medicative interventions or prescribed drug treatment (such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), hormonal therapy, and medical conditions treatment.
Easy Relaxation Exercises For Anxiety
Control your breathing
Taking deep controlled breaths can help bring you back to the present moment. Oftentimes, anxiety symptoms are heightened through pressed stimuli such as loud noises or busy minds.
How to do it?
- Choose a number between 1-20
- Count up to that number from 0, slowly
- In between each count, take a deep breath and then out
- Repeat this till you feel your breathing has calmed
If your was choice 12.
- Count 0 → breathe in → breathe out → Count 1 → breathe in → breathe out.. So forth, up until 12.
One of the symptoms of anxiety is an anxious mind – this means that unwanted thoughts become hard to control. Here is how you can distract yourself from rapid thoughts.
How to do it?
- When you feel your anxiety bubbling through, go to the closest spacious room you can find, outside would be even better.
- Walk slowly, and calmly, and look around, study your surroundings
- Count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 slowly: these are the number of things you will be searching for.
- Pick your favorite color: this is the color you will be looking out for
- Now, slowly try to find 5 things in your favorite color around the room or area you are in
Doing this can help you bring back your thoughts into your control, which should help you feel much more comfortable and relaxed. Diverting the thoughts of the mind using things you like, makes this exercise feel less like a chore.
“Stretch it out, Breathe it out”
Anxiety can sometimes be a vicious cycle – it can cause muscle and joint pain, due to the fact that many affected by anxiety are always in a wound-up rigid state – in other words, internally on high alert. Have you ever caught yourself chewing on the inside of your cheek? Grinding your teeth? Wringing your fingers? Biting your nails? These are some of the common signs of anxiety. The constant stressful movements and pressure on the brain result in many individuals crunching their feet, clenching their jaw, sitting with tight shoulders, etc. This further exaggerates anxious thoughts and behaviors.
How to do it?
- Find a serene place that you like: a bedroom, balcony, terrace, etc.
- Spread your feet a comfortable length apart
- Focus on your face: move and stretch every muscle that you can feel
- Focus on your shoulders, biceps, forearms, fingers, hips, thighs, calves, feet, toes (in that order) and do the same
- During each stretch or movement, take a breath in and out
This causes your mind to be aware of where some of the tension lies, along with regulating your breathing into a lull-like pattern. Being in control and in the moment is one of the most effective ways to relieve anxiety symptoms.
CBT Can Help Treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Sexual experiences involve both the mind and body – while the former is often neglected, sexual anxiety is very common. The goal of CBT – a type of Psychotherapy – is to approach negative thought patterns with positive tools – ones that a therapist is equipped to have you learn. Therapy is often subjective, as each individual has their own way of dealing with their diagnosis and treatment. The following, is for informational purposes, not all of these steps are required for every individual – treatment options vary to individual needs.
- Clinical assessment, and follow-ups
- Building cognitive and behavioural skills
- Practically using learned skills with guidance
- Learning the usage of positive tools such as: mindfulness (body awareness) and relaxation.
Benefits of CBT for Treating ED
CBT is considered to be one of the most effective forms of psychotherapy that addresses Erectile Dysfunction. In fact, in common cases ED is often accompanied with other sexual concerns such as low sexual desire and performance anxiety. CBT uses theory and practice to help overcome distorted thinking patterns or the way you used to think and behave – for the better.
Therapy is a process and at times there can be unrealistic expectations of the results. It works if you work it, is what they commonly say. Self-critical thoughts or negative thought cycles can affect your sex life, but overall quality of life as well. It’s important to believe in investing time in the matters of the mind as you do the matters of the body.
CBT has the ability to address problematic behaviors, interpersonal factors, psychological factors and alter the experience of pleasure in a good way.
The outcomes of CBT helps you understand how to respond to certain triggers that lead to ‘bad’ thoughts, feelings, or sensations. Using the tools you’ve learnt in CBT, you will be able to use a positive and realistic approach to the ‘now’ – what’s happening in the moment.
How To Overcome Performance Anxiety?
Performance anxiety can be treated, along with helping improve the effect it can have on sexual dysfunction. There are various ways that the condition can be treated, some of which include:
- Educating and keeping yourself informed about sexual activities
- Learning relaxation techniques to help with stress management
- Talking to a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist
- Managing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- Talking to your partner and seeking couples therapy to aid in interpersonal concerns
- Medical management of sexual dysfunctions such as ED and PE
- Modifying lifestyles such as regular exercise, good sleep, and a healthy diet
Frequently Asked Questions
(1) How long is CBT needed for?
Since therapy is highly dependent on the individual, their diagnosis, prescription and progress, it’s not that a specific number of CBT sessions can heal everyone the same. However, an average of 3-8 sessions yield improvements.
(2) Can I do CBT at home?
It is not recommended that you do CBT at home – professionals in the psychotherapy field are trained to approach sexual disorders (and many others conditions) in ways that would positively affect the mind. They hone communication skills, the ability to positively explain the experience of sex, be unbiased in their diagnosis and treatment and are willing to dedicate plenty of time to their patients’ progress.