Dr. Carnes now joins the ranks of the many Nobel Prize winners and Pulitzer Prize winners and other distinguished scholars who have received this award. He will also serve as a Distinguished Visiting Chair at the University of Alberta in 2017.
He will use his award to conduct a groundbreaking and unprecedented research study into the genetic factors associated with sexual addiction. More than 1,000 people (500 sex addicts and 500 non-addicts) from various centers across the U.S. and Canada will take part in the study. The study seeks to answer the following questions:
- What genes are linked to sexual addiction?
- How do these genes compare to the genes linked to alcoholism and drug addiction?
- Are there specific clusters of genes that predispose sexual addicts to behave in certain ways? In other words, can we predict whether an addict will become compulsive about adultery or pornography or voyeurism, etc.?
- What psychological disorders are linked to the different types of sexual addiction? For example, if a person is anti-social, is he more likely to compulsively pay for sex, engage in voyeurism, or pursue anonymous sex?
A full-genome genetic analysis of all participants will be conducted via saliva specimens. Advanced statistical techniques will be used to identify the genes that are linked to various types of sexual addiction, and to link genetic patterns to psychopathology and sexual addiction type.
This study could lead to many exciting developments that would vastly improve treatment and access to treatment for those who struggle with sex addiction. It could, for example:
- Lead to a screening tool for those with a sexual addiction, much like those available for alcoholism.
- Show definitively that sex addiction involves the same brain pathways as other addictions.
- Facilitate coverage of sex addiction and reimbursement or treatment by health insurance companies
- Reduce stigma and lead to more prompt and effective treatments for those who are struggling with the disorder.
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Carnes and in supporting his efforts to lead us to a greater understanding of sex addiction and an improved ability to offer effective treatments for those whose lives have been shattered by the disorder.