LUBBOCK TX (KCBD) – Experts say it is a growing addiction that no one wants to talk about. Sexual addiction has been in the headlines since Tiger Woods' scandal first came to light. Friday, the golfer made his first public statement about his infidelity since the car accident outside his Florida home back in November.
"This is the hidden addiction," said research associate with the Texas Tech University Center for Addiction and Recovery. An estimated 16-million Americans are addicted to sex and research shows 40-percent of them are women.
Russell says because of the stigma, people don't want to talk about it. "It's a very anonymous and shame-filled addiction and no one wants to talk about it," said Russell. He spent 13-years as a pastor in Houston and is back in Lubbock working on his Ph.D. at Texas Tech on sustaining long term recovery from addiction.
"I think some of the myth around sex addicts, is it is about sex. For sex addicts, it is not about sex it's about dealing with pain and shame," said Russell.
Russell says hopefully Woods' public statement about his affairs will bring to light the growing addiction.
Woods' reportedly spent 45-days at an addiction facility in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and will go back.
Dr. Patrick Carnes says sex addiction, while it may be difficult to understand is just like any other addiction. "This is no longer a question of whether the disease exists. There are questions about how does it all work," adds Dr. Carnes about sex addiction.
"The myth is that you have to take chemicals to be addicted but now as we understand the brain, that a brain disease is literally where the reward centers of the brain make it impossible for the person to make good choices for themselves," says Dr. Carnes.
The American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual does not list sex addiction as a disorder. Experts say temptation starts with the computer. "Internet porn is really the crack cocaine of sex addicts because it can be done in the privacy of your home," says Russell who adds that there is a recovery process and help is available. "It's not just a wealthy golfer's issue. There are suffering silent people all over City of Lubbock that need to talk," says Dr. Carnes about the importance of opening communication about the addiction.
The recovery process can include therapy and a 12-step program. For more information, (Click Here).
©2010 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.