Defining Sexual Addiction

[spacer size="20"] The DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), most recently published in 2000, does not list sex addiction as a disorder on its own, but instead makes sex addiction fall under "Sexual Disorders Not Otherwise Specified." Experts differ in their opinions in what causes sex addiction. Some say that it is a legitimate addiction disorder like alcohol, drugs, or food. Others say it is a form of OCD and compulsion, and yet others like Michael Bader, a psychologist and psychoanalyst who practices in San Francisco say that sex addiction is not like having an addiction to drugs or alcohol because sufferers don't "have physiological tolerance and withdrawal are usually not present, and if they are, they don't govern the addict's life in the same way that, say, opiates do. Sex addicts get anxious when they can't get their 'fix'-they don't go into DTs." Bader is frustrated at how so many self-labeled sex addicts use their "condition" as an excuse for bad behavior. Instead, he reasons, these sufferers need to zero in on their painful personal histories and take a good look at themselves where they might find loneliness, depression and anxiety issues that need to be addressed. Drew emphasizes that substance abuse issues should always be treated first before treating the sex addiction and that many sex addicts have chemical dependencies. When asked about Tiger Woods's sex addiction, Dr. Drew says that Tiger Woods has a long road ahead of him for recovery and that Woods may have a prescription painkiller dependency. "The whole treatment takes about 3-5 years, it is a 12-step among other things and usually involves very delicate therapy and trauma therapy as well as a lot of education," Pinsky says. "More often than not, the sexual addiction comes under control and is managed in the process of the overall recovery." How to treat someone with sex addiction Treatment and recovery plans do vary and many include 12-step recovery programs modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. Some of these programs include o Sex Addicts Anonymous o Sexaholics Anonymous o Sexual Compulsives Anonymous o Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous These above groups also offer online support and face-to-face meetings. A sex addict can also get help through a private counselor or an in-patient program, similar to what Tiger Woods is now doing. Experts may disagree on what sex addiction is, but they all do agree that it will take a long time for the sufferer to recover and that it takes a lot of work, family support and internal motivation in order to heal.