Is My Husband/Wife a Sex Addict?
The word addiction carries many connotations but to be “addicted” typically means that there is a physiological dependence on something that is very difficult to break. Research on the brain has confirmed that there is a significant neurochemical reaction in the brain to sexual stimulation. These neurotransmitters are very powerful and with repetitive firing, a person can become addicted to their release. We now use sex addiction as an umbrella term that includes not only sexual contact with others/self but can also include pornography addiction as well.
Addicted or Not?
It can sometimes be hard to determine if someone is addicted to something. There is a brief assessment that is used in the sex addiction treatment field called PATHOS. It was developed by Patrick Carnes, et al and through research has been shown to be valid. The acronym represents the typical features present for someone that is addicted to sex. It is designed to be a screening instrument to assess addiction and can help determine if more significant assessment is needed. Normally if one of these criteria are present, it is recommended that the person talk to a professional for further evaluation.
While sex addiction is a complex issue that requires complex solutions, there are ways to determine what level of care is needed. The most important component of assessment and treatment, is many times the hardest. That element is HONESTY. It is very hard to fight through the shame associated with addiction. Shame causes us to hide. If you are concerned that your loved one might be addicted to sex, know that it might be very difficult for them to be truthful with themselves and you. This is not to excuse any of their hurtful actions but to underscore the deeper part that most often blocks treatment.
There is a rapidly growing field of professionals that help treat those that have become addicted to sex. That is to say, there is HOPE!
To take the Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST) click this link: