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If they are in recovery, how long have they stayed sober?
Are they actively working a program of recovery (e.g., participating in self-help support meetings, counseling or an aftercare program)?
"I ask, 'What's going to happen if you don't satisfy that craving? No.' I try to get the patient to see things more realistically." One-on-one counseling, support groups, and having a plan are key.
Some studies suggest that it's more common in men, and gay men in particular, than women."If they are suffering, we want to help them." Reid and many other experts prefer the term "hypersexual disorder," rather than "sex addiction." By either name, it's about people who keep engaging in sexual behaviors that are damaging them and/or their families. That problem puts so much at risk: their personal lives, their social lives, their jobs, and, with the threat of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, their health.As examples, Reid cites men who spend half their income on prostitutes, and office workers who surf the web for porn despite warnings that they'll lose their job if they keep it up. Despite the danger, they return to the same behaviors over and over, whether it's Internet porn, soliciting sex workers, ceaselessly seeking affairs, masturbating or exposing themselves in public, or any number of other acts."Those are some of the core issues that you start to see when you treat someone with sex addiction," says John O'Neill, LCSW, LCDC, CAS, CART, a certified addiction counselor at the Menninger Clinic in Houston."You can't miss those pieces." Sex addiction won't be in the upcoming edition of the DSM-5, which is used to diagnose mental disorders.It also could be tied to abnormal levels of the brain chemical dopamine or serotonin.Or, problems related to attention, impulse control, or emotional regulation could also be involved.In working with the spouses and significant others of addicts, I’ve often heard it said, “I’d rather be an addict than love one.” While few people would ever walk eyes-wide-open into a chronic disease like addiction, the statement speaks to the confusion, loneliness and despair common not only among addicts but also the men and women who love them. In fact, addicts who are solid in their recovery can make excellent partners.A history of addiction doesn’t necessarily turn Mr./Mrs. They’ve waged a courageous battle, spending a great deal of time working to take care of and improve themselves.Before diving into a relationship, find out if your prospective partner is actively using drugs or alcohol, or if they display addictive or compulsive patterns in other areas (e.g., gambling, work, sex, food or spending).If you care about someone in active addiction, help them into treatment and hold off on turning a friendship into more until they’re grounded in their recovery.