Neurobiological Basis for Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity Finally Gets Validation, Says Renowned Addiction Expert

Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S, international addiction expert, speaker, author, clinician and founder of the Sexual Recovery Institute, embraces a new brain study by the University of Cambridge that provides powerful evidence that sex addiction is a legitimate neurobiological and emotional disorder. Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) July 22, 2014 – In the most extensive brain study on sexual addicts to date, investigators at the University of Cambridge confirm what clinical leaders and addiction experts like Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S, renowned speaker, author, clinician and founder of the Sexual Recovery Institute, have been saying all along: sex addiction really is a neurobiological and emotional disorder. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, the researchers made two critical findings:

  • When sex addicts are shown pornographic imagery, their brains demonstrate significant stimulation in those areas responsible for reward, motivation and craving, while the brains of non-sex addicts do not.
  • The brains of self-described sexual addicts respond in exactly the same areas and to the same degree as the brains of cocaine addicts when they are similarly exposed to images of drug use.

“People have been suffering with sexual compulsivity and sexual addiction for decades, conditions that are amplified by the 24-hour accessibility of sexual material via smartphones, virtual chats and other digital technologies,” said Weiss, who also serves as senior vice president of clinical development for Promises Behavioral Health. “Many have been reluctant to seek treatment because, in addition to the shame that goes along with compulsive sexual behavior, they feel the added burden of having a condition that is still widely looked upon as a character flaw or an excuse for bad behavior — much like alcoholism and drug addiction were viewed years ago.” Based on their real-world experiences and observations, practicing clinicians and addiction specialists like Weiss have argued for years that compulsive sexual behavior is a diagnosable condition with biological underpinnings rather than a simple problem of self-control. Since the early 1990s when he trained with sex addiction pioneer Dr. Patrick Carnes and founded one of the nation’s first outpatient sex addiction treatment programs, Weiss has committed his career to increasing awareness about sexual compulsivity and developing cutting-edge programs to treat sex and intimacy disorders. Largely due to lack of research, the concept has been slow to take hold among policymakers. “This is the type of rigorous, well-designed and long-overdue research that clinicians, patients and the public need to understand that the suffering sex addicts experience is real and treatable,” Weiss said. “With each seminal study we take an important step closer to official recognition, which will encourage people struggling with sex addiction and sexual compulsivity to get the help they need.” Although most addiction treatment centers focus on alcohol and drug abuse, a growing number offer specialized services for sex addiction. Weiss has developed a number of innovative treatment programs nationwide that offer dedicated programs for sex and intimacy issues, including:

About Robert Weiss

Robert Weiss is widely considered one of the nation’s foremost experts on sex and technology addictions along with the intimacy disorders that often underlie these problems. A media expert to CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, The Oprah Winfrey Network, ESPN, The New York Times, USA Today, NBC News and the Today Show, among others, Mr. Weiss also has provided clinical training and program development for the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. military, and behavioral treatment centers throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

About The Sexual Recovery Institute

The Sexual Recovery Institute is the nation’s premier outpatient program for men and women struggling with relationship, love and sex addiction. Based in Los Angeles, California, the institute offers confidential, affordable and gender-specific programs that encourage healthy sexuality and intimacy, including two-week intensives and individual, group and couples treatment. For more information about The Sexual Recovery Institute, call (855) 893-5987 or visit

About Promises Behavioral Health

Promises Behavioral Health is a family of behavioral health care programs that includes Promises Treatment Centers, The Ranch, The Recovery Place, Lucida Treatment Center, Clarity Way, Journey Healing Centers, the Sexual Recovery Institute and Right Step. Elements offers comprehensive, innovative treatment for substance abuse, sexual addiction, trauma, eating disorders and other mental health disorders. We are committed to delivering clinically sophisticated treatment that promotes permanent lifestyle change, not only for the patient but for the entire family system. For more information about Promises Behavioral Health, visit    

Scroll to Top