If they are in recovery, how long have they stayed sober?
Are they actively working a program of recovery (e.g., participating in self-help support meetings, counseling or an aftercare program)?
"I see in them an inability to stop what they're doing," O'Neill says.
Or, problems related to attention, impulse control, or emotional regulation could also be involved.They're caught in the act by a spouse, fired from their job, or arrested for soliciting sex from prostitutes.For some people, the crisis brings relief from distress caused by their behavior and constant fear of being discovered.Before diving into a relationship, find out if your prospective partner is actively using drugs or alcohol, or if they display addictive or compulsive patterns in other areas (e.g., gambling, work, sex, food or spending).If you care about someone in active addiction, help them into treatment and hold off on turning a friendship into more until they’re grounded in their recovery."The world comes crashing down," says Reid, "and some say, 'I'm glad that I got caught.'" There are no reliable estimates of how many people have the disorder.Some studies suggest that it's more common in men, and gay men in particular, than women.You've probably heard of sex addiction, but you might be surprised to know that there's debate about whether it's truly an addiction, and that it's not even all about sex."That's a common misconception," says Rory Reid, Ph D, LCSW, a research psychologist at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior."I ask, 'What's going to happen if you don't satisfy that craving? No.' I try to get the patient to see things more realistically." One-on-one counseling, support groups, and having a plan are key."You want to make connections with other people who are also struggling, and you have to know who you are going to call, what you are going to do, and how you are going to attend to your feelings," O'Neill says.