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"Current attempts at diagnosis focus on the extent to which sexual compulsions interfere with a person's good judgment or are pursued despite obvious risks to health, job and family.
Anyone who has experienced such compulsions or has treated them knows what I mean -- the husband who spends untold hours cheating on his wife online or with hookers, spends money he doesn't have pursuing his sexual interests, engages in unsafe sex, etc. If my lifestyle easily allows me to spend five hours a day surfing Internet porn or cruising for hookers, I may experience little risk but a high level of compulsion.
Members are urged to attend different groups and find those that fit best with their personal needs in recovery.
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Nevertheless, no one would be surprised if he joined the list of high-profile figures, usually men, who have been labeled sex addicts or actively sought treatment as such, e.g.
David Duchovny, Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas, Eliot Spitzer, Mark Foley and Ted Haggard, to name a few.
But when it comes to sex addiction, 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.
No one cares why I can't be faithful in a relationship.
If a seemingly straight man frequents restrooms for casual sex, is he an addict?
How much pornography does someone have to look at, how many hours spent in chat rooms, hookers hired, to go from "hound dog" to "sex addict?
Subjective experiences are clearly unreliable: Some people with very strict consciences and conservative backgrounds experience almost any sexual impulse as "out of control," while for others, living in a Fellini film would barely make the forbidden list.
Traditional addictions like those to alcohol or heroin always involve the presence of tolerance and withdrawal; that is, increasing amounts of the substance are required to achieve the same effect, and in its absence the addict suffers an increasingly painful psychophysiological state as the body and brain rebound.
Such treatment is always based on a 12-step model focused exclusively on stopping addictive behavior.