New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's fall from grace through his apparent yen for prostitutes raises questions about sexual addictions and how prevalent they are in our own communities, reports News 11's Jonathan Walsh.
A recent study by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center shows about 22 percent of married men and 15 percent of married women say they've cheated on their spouses.
"It's probably more prevalent than one would admit," says psychiatrist Dr. Tim Valko who treats people with sex addictions in our area. The addiction makes people feel they have to watch pornography and/or be involved in sex.
"It has caused a major problem with them working, having a decent relationship, even sleeping because they're so consumed," Valko says.
The Internet has helped fuel the addiction largely because people don't have to worry about being seen at a sex shop. Therapists like Bill Jones tell us the cause can also be genetics combined with early childhood influences.
Jones believes sexual addiction can be treated with help from programs like Sexaholics and Sex Addicts Anonymous.
"Brain science and the 12-step programs are coming together in thinking that it takes about 90 days of abstinence from addictive behavior (to kick the habit)," Jones says.
Those helping sex addicts say more men are seeking treatment, but that doesn't mean more men than women have the problem. If the behavior goes untreated, Jones says there could be dire consequences.
"They're probably going to end up with a big therapist bill, jail, or it can take their life," Jones says.
Valko agrees. "Sexual addiction in a family can destroy a family," he says.