6 thoughts on “Decoding Ariel Castro’s “Cold Blooded Sex Addict” Statement

  • May 14, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Rob, Thank you for taking the time to write this. There is so much confusion out there, I appreciate your helping the public understand the distinction.

  • May 15, 2013 at 1:36 am

    Your article shows how helpful an accurate diagnosis can really be.


  • May 16, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Thank you Robert for the time and effort you take to educate and clarify with patients, professionals and the public. You create an atmosphere of co-operative communications which is vital for solutions.
    Thank you, Beth Easter

  • May 16, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Castro is probably not a “sex addict.” He’s a violent “sex offender.” I am so glad to see someone putting a finger on the difference.

    So much rests on a correct definition. They may seem like similar terms, but someone who surfs internet porn when they’re bored or feeling bad would qualify as a sex addict according to the governing bodies of the field. A violent sexual offender is a totally different animal. They don’t usually respond to treatment.

    Here, you’ve offered a precise definition of the term “sex addict,” and more correctly labeled Castro. We who work in the field could use some advocates for clearer clinical definitions, a DSM nod would be nice, but the point that needs to be made over and over again, apparently? Sexual addiction is not an excuse for bad behavior.

    I’ve worked with “sex addicts” for years, and know how hard they work to change. To have this violent abuser use “sex addict” as a cop-out is offensive.

    • May 18, 2013 at 1:55 am

      I wear three hats. I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. I have worked in a maximum security forensic mental health facility and conducted sex offender treatment. I am also a sex addict with over 10 years of sobriety in Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA).

      In my experience, the terms sex addict and sex offender are two overlapping terms. The term sex addict is a term that comes from the 12-step recovery movement and is not recognized clinically in the DSM. The term sex offender is a legal designation.

      Sex offenders are most all sex addicts, but they have also been convicted of a sexual crime. I believe there are those sex offenders who have been falsely convicted, but never the less, carry this designation.

      For those in recovery, the term sex addict in recovery typically refers to a person who has a desire to stop their compulsive sexual behavior. I have been to numerous SAA meetings where sex offenders identified themselves as sex addicts. The door is open to these brothers and sisters. There are those sex addicts who have never darkened the door of an S meeting (SAA, SA, SLAA, SCA, etc), are not interested in doing so, and never will. If we are to liken this last group of individuals to low bottom drunks, then it would be appropriate to refer to them as sex addicts, sexual compulsives, or sexaholics, just as we would refer to a low bottom drunk as an alcoholic. All addiction is a progressive in nature, whether it is alcohol, opiates, food, or sex.

      The term sexually violent predator typically refers to a perpetrator who has committed offenses against people they do not know, and in the state where I worked, they did so on three different occasions. These people can recover, if they have a desire to do so.

      The distinction that I often see is from mental health clinicians or professionals in the criminal justice system, both whom have an obligation to protect the public. Fear impacts politics. Politics impacts law. Law impacts policy. Policy impacts treatment. In order for treatment to be successful, it should feel like therapy.

      The success rate of treating alcoholism prior to AA, utilizing only the medical model was less than 1%. The recovery rate is significantly higher now that AA has been established. The recognition of sex addiction as a program of recovery is relatively new. I believe that the treatment outcomes for treating sex addiction and sex offenders will only improve as more sex addicts with sobriety in recovery, educate the public, and become mental health clinicians as well as criminal justice professionals. A large obstacle to better treatment outcomes is the negative transference of the public and these two professional bodies.

  • May 20, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Even with substance addictions, the public as well as some addicts are confused about taking responsibility. It’s one of the ironies of 12-step recovery that admitting powerlessness over the addiction DOES NOT mean giving up responsibility for one’s actions, but rather the opposite. The disease model means that the person is not responsible for having the disease, but is responsible for having a program of recovery. It’s almost diagnostic of NOT having an addiction– but certainly shows no understanding of recovery– that someone wants to blame bad behavior on the addiction.


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