Sex addiction is like eating disorder: Therapist

January 22nd, 2010 - 10:40 am ICT by IANS  

Tiger Woods Los Angeles, Jan 22 (IANS) New York Times contributing editor Benoit Denizet-Lewis, who revealed in his blog this week the clinic in Mississippi where Tiger Woods has checked in for treatment, has set off heated debate about sex addiction and its treatments.
Denizet-Lewis, who himself has undergone treatment for sex addiction and just authored “American Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of Life,” named Monday in his blog Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services in Hattiesburg in Mississippi state where Woods has checked in for sex de-addiction.

As news hounds stalk the facility, therapists have weighed in with their opinions whether Woods can really wean himself off sex.

Rob Weiss, executive director of the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles Times that Woods’ story to fit the profile of a sex addict - beginning with his widely circulated telephone message in which he asks a mistress to remove any identification from her voice mail.

Weiss, who has worked with sex addicts for 20 years, told the newspaper that when “people who don’t have a problem, when they get caught or might get caught they understand that they have to stop right away - they will say: ‘We can’t see each other anymore’. ”

But “here, you have someone in the middle of the consequence and, rather than deal with the consequence, they’re trying to protect and continue the behaviour,” Weiss added.

He said sex addicts suffer from what he called a “process addiction.” Instead of craving drugs or alcohol, they act on their adrenaline rush for sex.

Weiss said sex addicts play out a compulsive habit from childhood to perform or entertain. “They learn that in order to be loved, they just need to perform for mom or dad. They don’t learn what makes them happy.”

Though compulsive need for sex is not as commonly accepted as other forms of addiction, it is “a serious affliction,” he said.

The therapist said sex addicts under treatment are taught to re-valuate and re-orient themselves to learn to live in a new way. But recovery from sex addiction could be trickier, Weiss said. “It is like having an eating disorder. We don’t tell you to stop eating,” he explained.

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