As Hollywood’s sexual assault scandal widens with further accusations, reports have emerged that actor Kevin Spacey checked himself into The Meadows treatment facility in Wickenberg, Ariz., the same rehab center where movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is also allegedly seeking treatment.
But at $37,000 a month, what kind of help do patients actually get as these expensive facilities?
Dr. Robi Ludwig, a psychotherapist who has treated sex addicts, said many of these rehab centers treat sex addicts similar to how other addiction programs for alcoholism or drug abuse do.
“There’s a supportive treatment environment where you can be amongst other people who are having similar struggles. There’s group therapy, there’s individual therapy, there’s medication management. And it’s just like anything else, it works as good as you work,” Ludwig told Fox News.
In most facilities, inpatient sexual addiction treatment involves a 30- or 60-day stay in a gender-separate facility.
Programs often focus on separating the addict from their addiction or the people, places and things that trigger that addiction.
Psychologist Dr. Kathryn Smerling said identifying triggers can be a big and important step for recovery.
“They should constantly be examining their triggers. For example, if they struggle with internet porn, get a wall that blocks these sites or just cut your WiFi at home completely,” Smerling told Fox News.
The term “sex addiction,” which is also known as Hypersexual disorder, has been hotly debated over. Some experts don’t believe sex addiction exists in the same way as other addictions. In fact, a diagnosis of “sex addiction” has not been added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
Some specialists describe sex addiction as; a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts.
Specific criteria or symptoms for hypersexual disorder were proposed for the DSM-5 in 2010 and included (for a period of at least six months); recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, urges, or behaviors, which were not related to some other mental condition or substance abuse; A pattern of the person using sex as a response to depression, stress or other negative moods or states.
Smerling said there’s never just one cause for addiction.
“It’s usually a multitude of factors- biological, psychological, and social. There can be changes in the brain elicited by compulsion. Psychological risk for any addiction such as sex includes depression, anxiety, and being obsessive compulsive. Anyone who struggles with incredibly low self-esteem and seeks approval or childhood self-esteem that was never dealt with properly,” Smerling told Fox News.
According to The National Council on Sexual Addiction Compulsivity, 6 to 8 percent of Americans are sex addicts, which is about 18 to 24 million people.
“I know that Harvey Weinstein probably had a bunch of people that were covering for him, and same for Kevin spacey, but people who are ‘ordinary’ people who have sex addictions, often lay in bed and masturbate for days, they will go and get risky sex partners and all kinds of things that are not masked by other things,” Smerling added.