So, everyone’s favorite sex addict is back on the golf course and soon the chopper king will be back to work, fresh from sex addiction rehab. In addition to the latest excuse label of sex “addiction”, those educated among us now claim that it is also possible to be “addicted” to video games. Treatment websites are popping up all over the internet. And the lines continue to blur between addiction and obsession. What is truly an addiction, characterized by a true physical demand, and what is a choice? An interesting discussion with costly repercussions at the very least.
In the opinions of many, addiction differs from obsession in that when one is truly addicted, the videos is physically trapped. In other words, if the substance is removed – be it alcohol, narcotics or amphetamines, the body is literally unable to function. There can be seizures and even death in severe cases. This is addiction and warrants medical treatment. That medical diagnosis includes insurance eligibility and pharmaceutical sales. When people make poor choices that become life threatening and must be treated medically, so be it. This is not an article about judgment or why people chose to self medicate.
Obsession is different from addiction. Obsession can be defined as a strong, even abnormal craving for something which may affect the psychological functioning of someone unable to focus on other things. However, the body does not shut down, go into seizures or react with any severity when it does not get sex or get to play video games. Simple obsession is not a medical condition. (Note – this does not include obsessive compulsive disorder which is a real disorder).
When one chooses to sit before the computer for the better part of the day playing video games, it does not constitute addiction. When one loses employment and neglects hygiene and basic health, it does not constitute an addiction. This is a poor choice with real consequences, but should not be something we are going to be paying insurance premiums and prescriptions for. And yes, we will all be paying for these things sooner than later as we move towards covering the masses.
When one chooses to be promiscuous on a regular basis whether or not cheating is involved; it is a choice. Once again, the body does not go into shock, organs do not cease to function if one is not able to entertain his or her sex drive. Insurance covered sex rehabilitation is absolute robbery of policy holders and tax supported government programs and will become more so as the health care landscape evolves.
Whenever a disorder, obsession, habit becomes recognized by the medical field, it becomes eligible for various benefits. Hence, it makes sense for that field of professionals to support this idea. I am not implying that those professionals are not concerned for others, or that their hearts are not in the right place, but realistically, everything comes down to money. We can be convinced of and support many things when we see that there are profits to be made; when jobs are maintained or created. Health care professionals can address the discomforts of insurance covered patients; pharmaceutical companies can research, create and market new drugs to fix the problems, and people can continue to be irresponsible with their choices and blame the consequences on things beyond their control.
In a recent article in the Tennessean, speaking specifically about sexual addiction, Ginger Manley, associate in psychiatry at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville says, “It is uncommon to hear a person, whether public or private, voluntarily admit to sexual misbehavior and to take responsibility for the activities without narcissistically blaming others – news media, staff, enemies, or other so-called conspirators – for the position they are in.”