Methamphetamine use, risky behavior and sexual desireDr. David Fawcett Ph.D., L.C.S.W., puts more than a decade of clinical experience and research on these linked issues into his book Lust, Men, and Meth: A Gay Man's Guide to Sex and Recovery.
Fawcett is a substance abuse expert, certified sex therapist and clinical psychotherapist with a private practice in Ft. Lauderdale specializing in gay men's health. His career has spanned more than 30 years in the areas of mental health and substance abuse. In his current work, he also consults numerous agencies and presents workshops on issues concerning substance abuse, mental health and chronic illness both nationally and internationally.
Fawcett addresses a wide range of concerns in his practice, including addiction, trauma and issues related to chronic illness, especially HIV/AIDS. He explained his specialty evolved organically.
"I got into dealing with addiction and substance use by initially treating people as a sex therapist and the two go hand in hand," said Fawcett, who also identifies as a gay man. "I got interested in working with guys with methamphetamine [addictions] because people were coming to me for sexual dysfunction, for sexual problems, sexual addiction. The clients I was treating kind of brought it to me. The first really big epidemic we had of meth on the East Coast was about 10 years ago and that's when I started doing a lot of this work."
In the LGBT community, Fawcett explained, there are higher rates of addiction overall. During work with his patients with addictions he recognized a lack of resources and that something needed to be done.
"When I started working there was really nothing to help people in recovery reclaim sexuality and intimacy because one of the things that it [meth] does is it binds with sex and so when they give up the drug their sexual desire and sex lives go out the window with it," said Fawcett. "So, my work over the years has been to really work with men and help them not only get clean from the drug, but to really heal in terms of their sexual desire and get back to healthy relationships."
"There was a one size fits all for addiction treatment and methamphetamine does have some features that make it unique where a traditional treatment program doesn't meet the needs of somebody trying to get over methamphetamine," said Fawcett.
The book aims to be a resource for recovery from methamphetamine and the restoration of healthy sex and intimacy.
"Meth not only increases their sexual desire, it also turns off their frontal cortex, which controls making good decisions," said Fawcett. "So, they're not really thinking clearly and they have all these drives and that's a bad combination."
According to Fawcett's website, the book is the first practical resource for this topic. In his writing, Fawcett covers the appeal of methamphetamine along with its impact on high-risk behaviors and sexual desire that results in a combination of meth and sex on the brain. The book also details how use of the drug not only leads to addiction, but sexual dysfunction as well.
"There are addiction books and there are therapy books, but this really combines the two into one voice," Fawcett said about what makes his book unique. "They [readers] can expect to understand the social context for the meth epidemicwhat's happening and why certain gay men are more vulnerable to this drug, the very unfortunate presence of HIV in the community and this high risk sexual behavior and how it all comes together into this perfect storm that's trouble for the community."
The book's style is non-fiction with a message that recovery is possible. The book renders its message with about 50 different case studies, based on Fawcett's own patients and qualitative surveys he posted on the Internet asking gay men to describe their experiences with meth and how the drugs impacted their sexuality, health and relationships. "Lust, Men, and Meth" states that 637 men across 32 countries and nearly every state in the United States responded to these Internet surveys.
The case studies and the recovery-guide components of the book are joined by the sex therapist's insight and the science behind neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to rewire itself and its role in taking over healthy pleasure and restoring it.
"It came from a lot of different individuals through many different channels, but there's that online survey and probably thousands of men over the years that I've talked to who have experienced the problem," Fawcett said.
Its target audience, Fawcett said, is gay men and the professionals who work with them. Overall, Fawcett said he aimed to make the book readable and relatable.
"The methods that I want to convey here is that there's hope; there is recovery" said Fawcett. "I think there's kind of a myth on the street that once you get addicted to meth, there's just no going back and that's just not the case. That is really one of the misconceptions I'm really hoping to dispel because more and more there are people getting into good solid recovery with years of recovery and also getting into healthy relationships, not only with other people, but with themselves. [They're] really finding out about themselves and learning what vulnerabilities they have that lure them into addiction in the first place and really healing that part."
For more information on Dr. David Fawcett and his book, visit: david-fawcett.com .
Related coverage at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Book-on-gay-men-and-meth-offers-recovery-solutions/54254.html .