There Is No Such Thing as ‘Porn Rehab’

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Ex-TLC star Josh Duggar is said to be entering ‘porn addiction rehab’—a bogus treatment for a non-existent condition that, flawlessly, shifts the blame.

Josh Duggar doesn’t have a porn addiction. He’s just a hypocrite.

In the original version of the former Family Research Council lobbyist’s public statement about his alleged Ashley Madison account, he wrote: “While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.”

The reference to addiction was later removed. But now the ex-TLC star has “checked himself into a long-term treatment center,” according to a statement issued Wednesday by the Duggar family. Several media outlets reported that “Josh Duggar is going to rehab for porn addiction,” as if a “porn addiction” were a demonstrably real thing instead of a concept that should be relegated to the scariest of scare quotes.

Duggar’s problems are many but porn addiction is a psychological fiction propped up by the same moralism that Duggar has espoused for years. By crying “addiction” and going to rehab, Duggar is positioning himself as the victim of an unproven disorder instead of acknowledging his role as an anti-LGBT bully who has campaigned against sexual freedom while rampantly abusing his own.

In other words, this move is business as usual for Duggar: He gets to appear penitent while implicitly sending the pious message that pornography is an evil from which one must be saved. He’s not lobbying for the FRC anymore but that’s a message they can certainly get behind.

As The Daily Beast reported in June, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has rejected the inclusion of “sex addiction” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), once in 2010 and again in 2012, when it was framed as a “hypersexual disorder.” The APA had previously removed the term “sexual addiction” from the DSM in the 1990s, citing a lack of evidence for its initial inclusion.

But despite the fact that the leading professional organization of U.S. psychiatrists has dismissed “sex addiction” based on a lack of research, the term still shows up in popular discourse with surprising stubbornness, reemerging whenever someone like Tiger Woods or Josh Duggar is said to suffer from one.

Granted, the DSM may still add sex addiction in the future if further studies can prove its existence, but current research appears to be headed in the opposite direction.

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Source: The Daily Beast | Samantha Allen

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