Tiger Woods and So-Called Sexual Addiction

Tiger Woods People of power and privilege, both men and women,  historically have engaged in extramarital affairs.  Having money and time on their hands, they indulge in all of life's pleasures, including extramarital sex.  A big difference today, however, is that journalists and the internet make it certain that eventually they will be caught.

"I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to.  I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me.  I felt I was entitled.  Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them," Woods said in his recent press conference.

Talented Tiger Woods, through hard work and discipline, rose to the pinnacle of success in the world of golf, and fame and riches followed.  In his private life, married to a beautiful woman and the father of two adorable children, he seemed centered, modest, and generous, funding important programs to benefit underprivileged children.  

But once the sordid truth about Tiger's multiple extramarital affairs were exposed, he needed cover, so he signed himself into a kind of "sanitarium" where people rich enough to engage in excessive sexual activity also can afford the treatment.   When he made his first public statements a few days ago, I was glad he never used the phrase "sexual addiction," because personally I do not see excessive sex, excessive eating, excessive gambling, excessive exercising or excessive working as "addictions."  One can use sex, like all of these activities, to deal with anxiety, loneliness and feelings of emptiness, and all of these activities help people avoid addressing their deeper and more painful issues.   In my opinion these are neurotic compulsive behaviors that can be successfully addressed in insight oriented therapies. 

It is possible that Tiger Woods's issues are more banal.  Prior to being caught, he was disciplined in keeping his game topnotch and keeping in top physical shape.  He was very focused and able to maintain his image.  Perhaps he is just another rich and famous man with strong narcissistic traits and an extraordinary sexual appetite and simply wanted to satisfy it while it lasted.

Based on some of his public statements a few days ago, however, and his plan to go back into therapy at the treatment center where he had been, he may indeed suffer from neurotic compulsive behaviors that can be treated with insight oriented analysis. 

"My real apology to [Elin] will not come in the form of words; it will come from my behavior over time," Woods said.  Only time will tell his wife and the rest of us whether Tiger Woods can keep his resolve to never engage in extramarital behavior again.

I'm Dr. Blokar.  For more information, click on the following resources:  

Healing the Hurt Behind Addictions and Compulsive Behaviors 

No Stones:Women Redeemed From Sexual Addiction  

Deceived:Facing Sexual Betrayal, Lies, and Secrets 

The Psychophysiology of Sex 

Addicted?:Recognizing Destructive Behaviors Before It's Too Late 

Facing the Shadow:Starting Sexual and Relationship Recovery  


Casey Johnson and Juvenile Diabetes

Casey johnson dies Casey Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, died recently at the age of 30.  Now, snippets of her life that we are hearing about and seeing reveal that like many other children of the rich and famous, her life was a shipwreck.  Someone should do a study on why people who have so much going for them, so much of what all the rest of us want, either get into trouble and end up having to throw it all away, or die young without ever really enjoying what they had.

Casey Johnson, though, had something else besides wealth and privilege.  As a very young girl she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, an incurable disease that takes constant management.  Imagine her having to go through daily finger prickings in order to monitor her blood sugar level.  And imagine having to think about everything you eat in order to keep your blood sugar numbers at an acceptable level.  And think about having to restrict physical activity because overexertion can reduce one's blood sugar numbers to dangerously low levels.  And, of course, there are the daily injections of insulin to control symptoms.

Some of those symptoms, like fainting or becoming incoherent, can result in emergency trips to the hospital, often being witnessed by peers which can be embarrassing.  The growing up process unfolds in a field full of potential land mines.  Puberty is a particularly disruptive and challenging time for kids with diabetes.  The struggle between childhood and emerging adulthood, when the young person wants to assert him/herself, break away from family and shift one's loyalty to one's peers, can be particularly difficult because the chronic illness requires ongoing adult supervision.  In addition, being different and sick can be embarrassing.  Many young diabetics rebel against their illness by challenging it with careless abandon, resulting in more hospitalizations and more embarrassment. 

No doubt, Casey Johnson's diabetes, as well as her wealth and name, shaped her personality.  And there is some sad irony, and maybe subliminal anger in Casey, that the company that gave her such wealth by creating medications to treat so many illnesses never created one that could cure her diabetes. 

But at age 30, when asked what her biggest regret was, Casey Johnson did not say "having diabetes."  She said it was not doing the reality television show with her friend  Paris Hilton. 

I'm Dr. Blokar.  For more information, click on the following resources:

Type 1 Diabetes for Dummies

The Everything Parent's Guide to Children with Juvenile Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes:A Guide for Children, Adolescents,Young Adults--and Their Caregivers, Third Edition 

Taking Diabetes to School 

487 Really Cool Tips for Kids with Diabetes  

Abuse of Prescription and Over the Counter Drugs and Alcohol

Brittany murphy In the entertainment industry there have been many performers who have died after accidentally or intentionally overdosing on prescription medications.  Most recently, 32-year-old actress Brittany Murphy died, and while we don't yet have the autopsy report, we did hear that lots of prescription medications were found in her bedroom.

But what about people who are not part of the Hollywood, show business rat race?  It is estimated that more than 50% of young women take prescription drugs, with mood-enhancing stimulants and anti-anxiety drugs being the most used.  Since stimulants often make people feel "wired," stimulants are often followed by sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs, creating a dangerous, vicious cycle.

Many people claim that they must take these medications in order to perform well, but steady use of them can lead to serious mood disturbances, causing a person to become irritable, angry and almost manic.  It may even trigger a psychotic manic episode during which all kinds of irrational and violent acts may be committed.

If one adds over the counter medications to some prescription medications, the combination can actually be deadly.  Taking cold medications containing Pseudoephedrine  along with a hefty dose of a stimulant can cause a serious, sometimes fatal, increase in blood pressure and heart rate.  Similarly, liberal use of pain killers which are opioid derivatives, taken with commonly used antihistamines or alcohol, can lead to a dangerous reduction in heart rate and breathing and can be fatal.

People, besides using drugs unwisely, often also drink too heavily.  Alcohol is a potent central nervous system suppressant, and reckless or violent acts are often committed because of alcohol's disinhibiting effect.  Depression, a lasting mood disorder, is a less known but serious consequence of alcohol abuse.

While young people's bodies can usually take lots of abuse and recuperate, every once in awhile the combination or quantity can be deadly.  We will soon know if this is what led to Brittany Murphy's untimely death.

I'm Dr. Blokar.  For more information, click on the following resources:

Overcoming Prescription Drug Addiction:A Guide to Coping and Understanding

High Society:How Substance Abuse Ravages America and What to Do About It 

Generation RX:Kids on Pills-A Parent's Guide 

Performance Enhancing Medications and Drugs of Abuse 

The Chemical Carousel:What Science Tells Us About Beating Addictions 

Prescription Drugs(Drug Abuse & Society:Cost to a Nation) 

Connecticut Cocktail 

Adolescent Substance Abuse:Research and Clinical Advances 

Drug and Alcohol Abuse:A Clinical Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment 

Prescription Drug Abuse(What's the Deal?) 

Prescription Drug Addiction:The Hidden Epidemic  

Thin Is In, But Is It Real?

Three_graces By today's standards, Marilyn Monroe, one of the most famous sex goddesses, would be considered fat, maybe even vulgar.  What happened to the ideal of the hourglass figure?  What happened to the ideal of the natural womanly body with wide enough hips and full enough breasts to bear and feed children?

Women feel inadequate if their bodies do not conform to whatever the ideal of female beauty is at a given time.  In Peter Paul Rubens's 17th century paintings, his ideal of a beautiful woman was one who was full-figured, not skinny.  In today's world, represented by the pictures of women on the covers and within the pages of fashion magazines, women who are very thin are the ideal.

Those magazine pictures, however, are airbrushed.  In adddition, clothes are often designed by men, often gay men, and seem to flatter and fit small breasted, thin women who have no discernible curves.

For many women and young girls, the desire to look like those airbrushed photos and be unnaturally thin has led to anorexia, which is resistant to treatment and quite dangerous to one's health, even life-threatening.  Interestingly enough, in countries with limited food supplies, anorexia is nonexistent.  It is a condition that affects mostly women in affluent countries.

Despite the constant bombardment of curvaceous women in sexual images, many girls and women deprive and starve themselves to look like those airbrushed women in fashion magazines -- almost transparent, disembodied and prepubescent as if they never want to look grown up.

Yes, women can be morbidly obese, but they can also be morbidly thin.  A hopeful sign is that there is a growing movement (in France, the government is spearheading these efforts) to require magazines with their airbrushed and misleading female images to carry mandatory disclaimers warning about false images of female beauty. 

I'm  Dr. Blokar.  For more information, please click on the following the resources:

Media Representations of Female Body Images in Women's Magazines

The Media and Body Image:If Looks Could Kill 

The Body Image Workbook:An Eight-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks 

Overcoming Body Image Disturbance for People with Eating Disorders:A Manual for Therapists and Sufferers 

A Look in the Mirror:Freeing Yourself from the Body Image Blues 

Body Image:A Handbook ofTheory,Research, and Clinical Practice 

Body Outlaws:Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image  


Alexa Ray's Attempted Suicide

Alexa joel Alexa Ray, singer/songwriter Billy Joel's daughter, recently attempted suicide.  Reports about what ticked her off seem to center on a recent breakup with her boyfriend and her relationship with her mother, model Christie Brinkley.

According to reports, Alexa Ray had just returned from a Caribbean vacation with her mother and half siblings.  Apparently her mother, still stunning and trim at age 55, kept criticizing Alexa Ray about her lax attitude toward her weight.  Brinkley, who made a fortune on her good looks and fitness empire, is making the mistake that too many other parents make, that is projecting their personal preferences onto their children and pressuring their children to follow them.  Alexa Ray may need help to learn how to fully appreciate her own value and to find her own calling. 

Of course, Alexa Ray might have a genetic predisposition towards depression and mood swings.  In any case, judging by the number of pills she allegedly ingested, this incident was a cry for help.  Since many people who attempt suicide eventually succeed, though, any attempt or verbal threat of suicide should be taken seriously. 

I'm Dr. Blokar.  For more information, please click on the following resources:

Suicide and Attempted Suicide

Why People Die by Suicide 

Understanding and Preventing Suicide:the Development of Self-Destructive Patterns and Ways to Alter Them 

November of the Soul:The Enigma of Suicide 

Suicide and Attempted Suicide:Understanding the Cry of Pain 

Night Falls Fast:Understanding Suicide 

Depression and Attempted Suicide in Adolescents

Tiger Woods and the Sad "Marital Sex Was Bad" Excuse

Dr. B (M.D.) and guest blogger Dr. E (Ph.D)

041203_woods_vmed_7a_widec  Tiger Woods, who started to play golf at age 2 and appeared on ABC's "That's Incredible" at age 5, has achieved one of the greatest sustained periods of dominance in the history of men's golf.  He plays in fewer tournaments than most professional golfers, but when he does play, according to the findings of Jennifer Brown of the University of California, other golfers play worse than when he is not in the tournament.

His ethnic diversity (Tai,Chinese, African American, Dutch and American) and physical grace make him attractive and exotic and add to his appeal.  His measured, cautious and carefully controlled demeanor help him project an image of an elegant, reliable, cool, masculine, disciplined and trustworthy man.

Now his wife, the mother of his two children, along with the rest of the world, knows that what we all see is not what we get.  Tiger, like many married men, we now know is a womanizer, with one of his extramarital women saying that Tiger likes it rough by dominating her, spanking her and pulling her hair.  Others now argue that Tiger was unsatisfied with marital sex, an excuse many married men use, and that's why he went elsewhere for sex.

Tiger and his wife apparently find it easier to discuss money than their relationship (the elaborate prenuptial agreement and the alleged financial deal for her to stay married), and that makes us wonder why married men and women can't discuss sex.  Why do so many of them seem unable to tell each other what they need and want from sex?

In the movie "Analyze This," Robert DeNiro, a Mafia boss, has a beautiful wife and a mistress.  The psychiatrist, Billy Crystal, asks him why he can't make passionate love with his wife.  DeNiro, looking incredulously at Crystal, replies,"You mean doing IT with the mother of my children?"

How ironic that husbands love their wives, put them on a pedestal, and respect them as the mothers of their children so much that their wives become untouchable!  And wives may feel that since their husbands think of them as saintly, they have to inhibit their sexuality or their husbands won't love them as much.  Instead of talking about it and getting help if needed, husbands leave their wives sexually frustrated and unsatisfied, go off and have sex with women they have no attachment to or respect for, and when caught, rationalize that they went elsewhere for sex because they couldn't get it at home.  Extramarital affairs are free of the complexities of marriage, and men prefer things simple.

Ordinary men may not have the women groupies who surround famous athletes and entertainers, and they don't get to travel, making affairs easier, the way Tiger Woods does.  And they certainly don't have the resources to wine, dine and hide their extramarital women.

More important for all married couples is to examine why deeply loving someone may result in unfulfilling sex.  When did pure love mean love without passionate sex?  At one time pure love was a prerequisite for great sex. 

We're Drs. B and E.  For more information, click on the following resources:

Passionate Marriage:Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships

Dr. Ruth's Top Ten Secrets for Great Sex:How to Enjoy It, Share It, and Love It Each and Every Time 

Till Sex Do Us Part:Make Your Married Sex Irresistible 

Systemic Sex Therapy 

Is That All He Thinks About?:How to Enjoy Great Sex With Your Husband 

Getting the Sex You Want:Shed Your Inhibitions and Reach New Heights of Passion Together  

The Symbolism of Hair

Bald_woman_free  At an event I recently attended, I met an actress who in her speech related how hard it was to pursue her dreams.  Although she had extraordinary talent and great looks, there were so many obstacles in her way, including auditions with inevitable rejections and more auditions with rejections, that it all became too taxing.  Exhausted and disheartened, she was going to abandon her extraordinary gift, her calling.  She found herself fantasizing about leaving it all, becoming a waitress and shaving her head, though she doesn't know what the shaving of her head was all about.

So what does fantasizing about shaving one's head mean?  Hair, after all, symbolizes power, potency and sexuality.  When in the Bible Samson's hair was cut, he lost his power.  When a newly ordained nun shaves her head, she is giving away her power as a woman in order to submit her life and her will to serving God.  In some Hassidic sects the young bride shaves her head on her wedding night, giving away her allure and personal power in order to submit to the marital union.

 Although the actress's fantasy provided needed relief from daily hardship and uncertain results, it was not without sorrow.  Shaving her head symbolized giving away her most extraordinary and powerful asset, her very special gift, in exchange for a seemingly easy and simple life.

Fortunately for her and for us, she persevered.  Today she is at the zenith of her professional life, enjoying her success fully with no regrets for living an exceptional life.

I'm Dr. Blokar.  For more information, click on the following resources:

Hair:Surviving the Fall

The Sabian Symbols & Astrological Analyses:The Original Symbols Fully Revealed  

The Roots of Desire:The Myth,Meaning,and Sexual Power of Red Hair 

Hair:Its Power and Meaning in Asian Cultures  

Do Katie Couric, Meredith Vieira and Natalie Morales Have to Be Blondes?

Dr.E (Ph.D.) Speaks Out: Guest Blogger


Just before Katie Couric left her position as cohost of "The Today Show," she let her short brunette hair grow longer and gradually get lighter.  She was a blonde when she started anchoring the CBS Evening News.

Then, soon after Meredith Vieira took over Katie Couric's spot on NBC's "The Today Show," I watched her hair color get lighter and lighter.  It ended up being a pretty color and a good bleach job, but her brunette hair was a pretty color without a bleach job.  Now, I'm talking about only hair color, not hair quality or hair styles.

Some time ago,  I watched another NBC "Today Show" anchor's hair getting lighter and lighter.  Natalie Morales, like Meredith Vieira and Katie Couric, had a beautiful brunette hair color. 

One day while having my gray hair colored, I was chatting with my colorist Kathy and mentioned how disturbing it was to see Natalie Morales gradually lightening her hair.  "I'm her colorist," Kathy replied.

Although I was embarrassed, I stood my ground.  I said I couldn't understand why someone as attractive as Natalie Morales, with such beautiful brunette tresses, would want to bleach her hair lighter and lighter.  Kathy  said something about the cameras and studio lighting "liking" blonde hair.

You know what I think, though?  I think it's the male bosses who like blondes!  And in the competitive business of tv news, these women know they have to compete with other blondes and they know how important it is for them to please the male bosses!

Funny thing is, those men and these women seem to have forgotten that Katie Couric was never more popular and never had higher ratings than when she was a brunette!

I'm Dr. E., Guest Blogger.

For more on this topic, click on the following:

News, Gender and Power

Seen and Heard:The Women of Television News 

Blonde Like Me:The Roots of the Blonde Myth in Our Culture 

Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?  

Suzanne Somers:Questions Raised by Her New Book

Suzanne_Somers_USO_2_head In Suzanne Somers's new book, Knockout, she tells us that when she went to the emergency room feeling ill as she was going into anaphylactic shock, an allergic reaction that can be deadly, she was treated for it.   Because she had breast cancer in 2000, howevever, one of the doctors told her to have a CAT scan which allegedly showed cancerous tumors all over her body.

Two things are striking about this,  if this is what indeed happened.  First, according to Somers, an oncologist told her, "You've got cancer.  I just looked at your CAT scan and it's everywhere...your lungs, your liver, tumors around your heart...I've never seen so much cancer."  There is no mention of Somers being physically examined by the doctor, only reference to the CAT scan.

Second, according to Somers, based on the CAT scan another doctor had told her, "We don't know what is wrong with your liver, but it is so enlarged that it is filling your entire abdomen."  The liver is an easily palpable organ; it lies right under the abdominal wall.  With the exception of severely obese people, a thorough physical exam simply using two hands can diagnose an enlarged liver and a cancerous liver as well.

If Somers had so much cancer in her body, it is unlikely that she would have been symptom free.  Remember, she sought medical help for an allergic reaction.  Furthermore, there was no mention of tumors in Somers's brain.  When breast cancer metastisizes, it is usually in the lungs and brain first, and  knowledgeable doctors know that.  Even small lesions in the brain produce serious symptoms, and Somers was symptom free with no mention of brain lesions on the CAT scan.

Since the CAT scan findings were unusual and did not fit the clinical picture Somers presented, she needed to be fully examined by her doctors using their common sense and medical knowledge.  Doctors, relying only on machines, should not give someone a death sentence before ruling everything else out.  Machines and laboratories can be faulty and are not always accurate.

Somers  enthusiastically advocates alternative medicine and nutrition.  When the prognosis is poor because of multiple secondary cancers, no one can tell you with certainty what the right course is for you or your loved one.  Alternative medicine may be helpful sometimes.  Traditional treatments may be helpful other times.  And some cancers continue to be invariably deadly regardless of the intervention.

Chemotherapy saves and cures some, but it does not cure everyone, and then cancer can progress in a body weakened by chemotherapy.  I know people who chose alternative medicine and died.  I know people who followed traditional medical advice and died.  I know people who were doomed only to resurface later symptom and cancer free.

You have to become informed and learn all the options.  Then you have to discuss them with a doctor who takes all the particulars of your illness and your body into consideration, and then the patient must be careful not to listen to only what he/she wants to hear.

I'm Dr. Blokar.  For more information, click on the following resource:

Knockout:Interviews with Doctors Who Are Curing Cancer -- and How to Prevent Getting It in the First Place

Mood Disorders and Creativity

Plath  Many creative people suffer from mood disorders.  Creativity is nurtured by strong emotions and from the courage to go to unchartered places.  Creativity cannot be born out of stale waters or complacency.  One has to abandon safety and be willing to put oneself into uncomfortable positions, something most people avoid.

It is counterintuitive to seek experiences that are frighteningly powerful and transformative, but creative people go out on limbs while testing their limits and challenging commonly accepted truths.  They dare to follow uncommon destiny in service of their talent.

A few well-known people who most likely suffered from the mood disorder known as Bipolar Disorder, with its highs and lows, are Sylvia Plath (pictured above), Virginia Woolf and Vincent van Gogh, all of whom committed suicide.   And there are many creative people, such as Eugene O'Neill and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, known for excessive drinking and gambling.

I have treated a very creative artist for a number of years.  She went through enormous emotional suffering but would not take medication out of fear that this would interfere with the creative process.  After two years of treatment, the pain became so unbearable that the artist finally decided to take medication.  The subsequent relief was dramatic, and my patient was not only able to resume a normal level of functioning in her daily life, but also her creativity did not suffer.  Actually, she did a lot better since she was less distracted by the symptoms of her illness.

Certain medications may interfere with the fine tuning of one's nervous system, yet in the right amount and with careful monitoring, one can avoid these pitfalls.

I'm Dr. Blokar.  For more information, click on the following resources:

Strong Imagination:Madness, Creativity and Human Nature

Manic Depression and Creativity 

Emotional Illness and Creativity 

Touched With Fire:Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament 

Creativity and Madness:New Findings and Old Stereotypes