National News

Jun 17, 2011 1:21 AM by Danielle Lerner

Local addiction specialist weighs in on Anthony Weiner scandal

Anthony Weiner is now just the latest former politician to find himself at the center of a sex scandal. Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Edwards both fathered children out of wedlock, and Edwards now faces criminal charges of violating campaign finance laws.

A local addiction specialist, who did not treat any of those men, says the reasons behind that kind of behavior vary depending on the person. Often times the stress and power of politics do play a big part, but other times the problems go much deeper, issues like childhood trauma or even addiction.

The embarrassment continued for Anthony Weiner Thursday as he resigned from Congress after 12 years, and while he has never said what "problems" he hopes to seek treatment for, Addiction Specialist Stanley Heddleson at the Community Counseling Center in San Luis Obispo says Weiner does show signs of sex addiction.

"He put his family at risk, he put his position in Congress at risk, so that's how you can really tell an addict, just to do the kinds of things he was doing," said Heddleson.

Heddleson says most addicts use their addictions to solve problems in other areas of their lives, and he says the internet makes it easier for high-profile people like Weiner to lead a double life.

"They push it aside, it's like out of sight, out of mind," said Heddleson.

Americans have their own opinions. A recent Pew Research Center study shows 57 percent of those polled believe politicians just get caught more often because they are under greater scrutiny, while 19 percent say they have lower moral standards than ordinary Americans.

Still, Heddleson is quick to point out that while politicians like Anthony Weiner may behave badly it doesn't mean he is a bad person.

"He seems to be a decent person who's got a pretty big problem, but he can be helped," said Heddleson.

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