Amy Sussman/Getty Images
Amy Sussman/Getty Images
With Congressman Weiner allegedly seeking "help" with his problems like Tiger Woods and Jesse James before him, I have to know: What the heck is this mystery rehab for married men who get caught doing sleazy things?
—L. Calvery, via the inbox
Apparently, drugs and alcohol aren't the only addictions now.
You can't just flash some strange lady over Twitter and then blame the cocaine or the Adderall. That's too 2003. No, famous post-millennial cheaters are now addicted to emotions. Seriously:
According to addiction specialists, many powerful people have addictions that go beyond yummy substances. They are dependent on ego-stroking (if not stroking of other things; sex addiction is another possibility, depending on which therapist you talk to), attention, praise, or risk and the adrenaline that goes with it.
"Attention addiction is one of the addictions displayed by Congressman Weiner," insists Dr. Bernard Luskin, a longtime counselor and a professor of marriage and family therapy at Touro University Worldwide.
"Many of the Tweets he sent were asking anyone to respond. There are many other vehicles that lead to sexual contact in addition to Twitter.
"His positioning also has the earmarks of an inferiority complex overcompensated for by overt behavior and a desire for attention," Luskin posits. "We have narcissism, exhibitionism and attention addiction coupled with demonstrated arrogant and defiant behavior."
Can you get rehab for that?
"If this is actually an addiction, the most common approach is cognitive behavioral therapy," which generally consists of talking one's way into an understanding of one's underlying motivations.
Another type of treatment, "insight oriented therapy," focuses on making a client aware of how his past may be affecting his current behavior. The type of therapy will largely depend on exactly what, if anything, is wrong with Weiner, Luskin tells me.
There's another possibility: Weiner could have checked into a facility not for treatment, but for refuge.
"Most likely he's seeking a respite from the enormous pressure and stress he's been under over the past few weeks," psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert posits.
"Secondarily he probably seeks to gain insight into his behavior and ways to better cope with whatever was driving him to take such risks. For many, risky sexual behavior is how they cope with stress, in much the same way someone might use drugs, alcohol, or even food or shopping to cope.
"It provides a temporary relief, distraction, or thrill."
Unlike all these news feeds about Weiner. Let's hope he makes a decision on his job soon; the current drumbeat toward his stepping down is getting a bit boring, no?