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What is Addiction?

 "For all addicts a moment comes when they realize they have a problem."                                        Out of the Shadows, Patrick Carnes, Ph.D.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV):

"When an individual persists in use of alcohol or other drugs despite problems related to use of the substance, substance dependence may be diagnosed. Compulsive and repetitive use may result in tolerance to the effect of the drug and withdrawal symptoms when use is reduced or stopped. This, along with
Substance Abuse are considered Substance Use Disorders...."

This can be expanded to include any uncontrollable compulsion to engage in a specific activity (watching TV, overeating, Internet pornography, compulsive shopping, sex with a partner and/or with self, and gambling) despite negative or painful consequences. Just like with chemical addictions these other addictions will have withdrawal effects when the behaviors stop. Also, like chemical addictions they are also progressive (meaning that they will get worse over time) and can become life threatening. 

Those with addiction are frequently conning themselves that they have it under control. They think if they just try a little harder (on their own) they can stop their problematic behavior. This simply does not work. An addict is truly out of control and cannot stop. Addiction recovery is not just about being strong or tough (though these qualities will be helpful too). It begins with recognizing that they need help and are willing to pick up the "thousand pound phone" and make the calls to their sponsor, a fellow from their program or their therapist to connect and stop the addiction cycle one day at a time.

Sex Addiction

PATHOS is a brief sexual addiction screening questionnaire. The aforementioned clinical study from Carnes, et. al., found PATHOS as clinically significant for effectively classifying patient’s appropriateness for entering treatment as potential sex addicts. PATHOS stands for the six assessment questions:

Preoccupied:  Do you often find yourself preoccupied with sexual thoughts?
shamed:  Do you hide some of your sexual behavior from others?
reatment:  Have you ever sought therapy for sexual behavior you did 
not like?
urt others: Has anyone been hurt emotionally because of your sexual behavior?
ut of control:  Do you feel controlled by your sexual desire?

ad:  When you have sex, do you feel depressed afterwards?

A positive response to just one of the six questions would indicate a need for additional assessment with a certified sex addiction therapist. Two or more are considered to certainly indicate sexual addiction.

You are worth the effort... If you feel this fits you, call now for a free phone consult to help on your path to recovery and healing.

Carnes PJ, Green BA, Merlo LJ, Polles A, Carnes S, Gold MS, March 6, 2012 (1):29-34. PATHOS: a brief screening application for assessing sexual addiction. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e3182251a28. PATHOS is reprinted here with permission from the International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals (iitap).

Brad Gilbert, MFT, CSAT

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Brad Gilbert MFT. CSAT, 916-616-5227, bradgilbertmft@gmail.com

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