Unlike other kinds of mental health and psychological issues (depression and bipolar disorder, for example), we here in the general public tend to hear more about sex addiction as it affects the celebrity circle rather than how it affects everyday people. That’s definitely not to say it only affects celebrities, but it’s less common for us to know someone who has actually been diagnosed with sex addiction (as opposed to someone who just has a lot of sex) than it is for us to know someone who’s been diagnosed with, say, depression.
Most of us know someone — a friend, a family member, maybe a coworker — who has been diagnosed with a mental health problem, but it’s rarer for us to know someone who’s been diagnosed with sex addiction.
Usually, we just call “a whole lot of sleeping with someone other than your significant other” “cheating,” and past editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) haven’t done much in the way of redefining it for many of us.
(The plan right now, I’ve been told, is for the upcoming DSM-V to include a new category called “Behavior Addictions” and for addictions like sex addiction to be included in an appendix entitled “Proposed diagnostic categories needing further study” which, according to Psych Central’s Dr. John Grohol, means that “technically they still cannot be diagnosed, but are put there so researchers have a set of agreed-upon criteria to work from.”)
However, whether or not you buy sex addiction, the fact remains that as long as there are treatment options available, there will be people taking advantage of them. Some of those people might genuinely feel they have a problem with sex addiction and want help, and some of those people might only be checking into a facility to salvage the relationship and/or public image their promiscuous behavior damaged or even destroyed.
I don’t think enough time has passed yet that I need to remind anyone of Tiger Woods, but the latest famous name to hit the sex addiction treatment circuit is Jesse James, husband of Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock.
He’s also the latest to check himself out.
Just days after entering Sierra Tuscon, an Arizona facility that “provides individualized treatment for […] addictions, mental health issues, and chronic pain,” James reportedly left because Bullock wouldn’t accept a phone call. This led to some speculation about the motivation behind his treatment (Does he truly think he has a problem and want help, or was it all just a ploy to save his marriage?), but I’m willing to play Devil’s Advocate and suggest James just hadn’t yet gotten to the point where his recovery (if indeed he has something to recover from) took precedence over Bullock’s forgiveness.
It’s possible. It could be way off, but it’s possible.
Fortunately, according to RadarOnline.com, James eventually returned to Sierra Tuscon.
Did he end up getting the phone call with Bullock? Did something happen that made him think returning to treatment could salvage his marriage? Did he decide his own treatment and well-being was the most important thing right now? Or, did someone advise him that returning to Sierra Tuscon was the best option if there was any hope of repairing his image?
All we know right now is that he did return, and that has to be better than nothing, right?
For now, what are your thoughts on sex addiction? Have you ever known someone to receive treatment for it? Do you think it’s possible sex addiction is an actual mental health problem, or are you more inclined to think it’s merely a way to justify not just promiscuous behavior, but infidelity?