If someone has repeated affairs are they an addict?

Sex addiction expert Kenneth M. Adams, PhD discusses sex addiction and how this addiction relates to infidelity
Relationship Advice | If someone has repeated affairs are they a sex addict?
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If someone has repeated affairs are they an addict?

So if somebody who has multiple affairs a sex addict and that's an important question because you have to make that distinction to determine the treatment because they're separate, can be related but separate treatment tracks. So when we talk about somebody who is addicted to sex say who has multiple affairs we're usually looking at somebody who feels compelled to break the vows of the implicit or explicit relationship, and they're in conflict about the urge to do so, but they can't stop themselves. And they're compelled to seduce, flirt, get into their pattern, act it out, and then they regret it, they try to stop. They can't stop. They do their pattern all over again. When we see that kind of pattern, that pattern of regret and shame, and the desire to stop, but the inability to stop, you almost always are looking at some addictive issue. In comparison, sometimes a serial cheater if you will, who has no regret, no shame, doesn't try to stop, is completely an opportunist, and would as soon be sexual with someone he meets as he would take their money, so we're usually talking about somebody who is an opportunist and has a character disorder. In other words, the character is not congruent. The value system they profess to have doesn't match their behavior and they tend to lack empathy, shame, appropriate shame, and regret over behavior that harms people. In fact, they often are surpised that they hurt anybody. When you see that kind of, you know, repeat pattern of affairs, that is a much more difficult person to treat because of the lack of empathy, and the lack of remorse, there isn't alot of leverage to use in a clinicians office or therapists office to work with them, not impossible but more difficult as opposed to the addict. The addict brings in shame and regret, and that assists us to work with them better, and there's better outcomes with that.

Sex addiction expert Kenneth M. Adams, PhD discusses sex addiction and how this addiction relates to infidelity


Expert Bio

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Kenneth M. Adams, PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Kenneth M. Adams, Ph.D., CSAT, is a Licensed Psychologist, the Clinical Director and Founder of Kenneth M. Adams and Associates in suburban Detroit, Michigan, as well as a faculty member at the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals. As previous Clinical Director for the Life Healing Center in Sante Fe, New Mexico, a residential treatment center for trauma and addiction, Dr Adams created the first inpatient program exclusively for partners of sex addicts. In addition to maintaining an active clinical practice, Dr. Adams is a national lecturer, workshop leader, and consultant in the areas of child abuse, dysfunctional family systems, and sex addiction. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications, the books Silently Seduced and When He’s Married to Mom, as well as co-editor of Clinical Management of Sex Addiction. In 2011, Dr Adams received the “Carnes Award” for “outstanding work in the field of sexual addiction and compulsivity”. He is a certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), a CSAT supervisor, and CSAT training facilitator as well as an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practitioner. Dr. Adams is a member of the American Psychological Association, Michigan Psychological Association, Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH), and International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) as well as an advisory board member to SASH and IITAP, and an editorial board member of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. For more on Dr Adams visit www.drkenadams.com.


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