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You've probably heard of sex addiction, but you might be surprised to know that there's debate about whether it's truly an addiction, and that it's not even all about sex."That's a common misconception," says Rory Reid, Ph D, LCSW, a research psychologist at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.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.The causes are also unknown, or how similar it is to other addictions.That's one reason that Reid prefers the term hypersexual disorder (HD)."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.
"People are going to seek help, and there doesn't need to be diagnosable condition for them to get help," Reid says.
They're caught in the act by a spouse, fired from their job, or arrested for soliciting sex from prostitutes.