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Friday, August 29, 2008

David Duchovny is a Sex Addict - and he is going into Rehab to get rid of his sex addiction

David Duchovny has voluntarily entered a treatment facility to deal with sex addiction, reports Associated Press.

The Californication star plays sex-obsessed Hank Moody on the Showtime series, for which he won a Golden Globe.

In a statement released by his lawyer, Stanton Stein, the actor asked “for respect and privacy for my wife and children as we deal with this situation as a family.”

The actor’s publicist also confirmed the rehab report, which first appeared on People.com.

Duchovny is best known for his role as agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files. He has been married to actress Tea Leoni since 1997 and they have two children.

A Story of Sex Addiction

Sex was his fix, his high - his way out from thinking about an abusive past that haunted him. Then the abyss of addiction he fell into nearly destroyed his life.

``My drug of choice was whatever you got - a smorgasbord of pornography, hookers, anonymous partners. My goal was (to score) every day. It was like being a junkie,'' says Jim, a 34-year-old Edmonton executive and married father of two.

In his darkest hours, he was a Jekyll and Hyde in a three-piece suit, skipping work to troll for prostitutes or hook up for free sex with someone he'd met online.

``It was like a second job. I felt completely out of control, utterly hopeless. I'd become a passenger in my own life,'' says Jim, whose infidelity and lies started before his marriage, and continued for years before a regular sex partner contacted his wife in a jealous rage one night and blew his cover.

``It's where I hit bottom,'' he says, relieved.

Sexual addiction is a sexually related compulsive behaviour that interferes with daily life, puts extreme stress on loved ones, and jeopardizes one's work life and relationships, says Dr. Patrick Carnes on sexhelp.com, his online resource for sex addiction and recovery. Carnes is a psychologist and pioneer in sexual addiction research.

The Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health estimates that sexual addiction and compulsivity affects three to five per cent of the U.S. population. These stats may be applied to Canadians because the two countries have similar cultures with respect to media and Internet content, says a local psychologist who trained under Carnes.

``Likely, these numbers are higher because they're only based on individuals who seek treatment. And we're just at the tip of the iceberg,'' says Doris Vincent of Recovery Path Counselling in Edmonton.

Sexual addiction is an exploding problem that is being fuelled by easy Internet accessibility, affordability and anonymity, argues Vincent.

``There's a high degree of acceptance in our culture of sexualizing and objectifying, and people who are isolated and in pain are highly susceptible to addiction,'' she says.

Jim recalls how Internet porn sites seduced him with ever-more enticing images and offerings.

``I'd plan to surf for 15 minutes, but then I'd look up and it would be three hours later,'' he says. ``I had no control over what I was doing.''

Not to be mistaken for a high libido or strong sex drive, sexual addiction renders the addict completely powerless to patterns of destructive behaviour that escalate over time.

But it's not about the sex at all; rather, it's the mood-altering state induced by sexually related behaviour that temporarily numbs the pain of past trauma, says Vincent.

``With all addictions, there is an underlying problem and difficulty of managing feelings. Addictive substances or behaviours affect the brain chemically, inducing a buzz or a high, and eventually the brain begins to demand more and more,'' she says.

But, ironically, the addict's ``acting out'' only serves to reinforce the guilt, shame and self-loathing rooted in the original trauma. So the destructive cycle continues, sometimes indefinitely.

As many as 97 per cent of sex addicts were emotionally abused and 81 per cent lived with sexual abuse, according to Carnes' research based on a survey of 1,000 sexual addicts in recovery.

For Jim, his ``acting out'' often reflected his early traumatic memories.

``I now see that I was recreating an experience - often abuse scenarios with anonymous partners - to feel better emotionally,'' he says.

But relief was only temporary - a Band-Aid repeatedly ripped off from a raw, open wound.

``The addiction is still like a cheese grater constantly, but I'm working to build new coping strategies,'' says Jim, who attends a sexual addictions support group that is founded on the same principles of the 12-step model used by Alcoholics Anonymous.

There is some debate in the medical community over whether sex addiction is a bona fide psychological disorder.

Sexual addiction is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a diagnostic guide used by psychologists and psychiatrists, and this may be because there are conflicting views over what it is exactly, says Vincent.

Sexual addiction shares similar behaviours with illnesses like bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which can cause sexual obsessions and, in some cases, an acting out of obsessions, she says.

``Some doctors will treat sex addiction as a symptom of another diagnosis, not as an addiction in and of itself. But it's my belief that you have to treat the addiction first, whatever the underlying problem may be,'' says Vincent.

There is very little empirical research to support sex addiction as a clinical condition, says Robin Milhausen, an assistant professor of sexuality at Guelph University.

``First, it is important to note that addiction is characterized by a physiological dependence on a chemical substance. Sex is not a substance, nor are there withdrawal symptoms if a person goes without sexual contact,'' says Milhausen.

Also, addictions tend to progress from less severe behaviour to more severe, but sexual behaviour does not occur in a hierarchy, she argues.

``Masturbation does not inevitably lead to pornography, and pornography does not inevitably lead to soliciting prostitutes,'' says Milhausen. ``The sex- addiction model pathologizes healthy sexual behaviours, such as masturbation, and sexual behaviours that occur outside of the context of a monogamous, dyadic relationship.''

Despite controversy around sexual addiction, thousands of self-identified addicts seek support in recovery through groups like Sex Addicts Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous and Sex & Love Anonymous. Currently, there are over 900 Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting groups around the world.

Jim swears by his regular attendance at meetings. He says they keep him grounded and focused on his healing, while bolstering his willpower to deflect any unhealthy sexual cravings as they arise.

That's not to say he can't have sex - just not outside the context of his marriage. He's also made the personal choice to give up masturbation. Although he doesn't think it's inherently ``evil,'' he says ``it's like a drink'' for him, and tends to fuel his desire to act out again.

``Every day, I'm thankful for what happened. I have no regrets, because it brought me here to this point,'' says Jim. ``I'm a sex addict. I have been sober for one year.''

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