(CBS) Oscar De La Hoya is best known for his battles in the ring, but now he's squaring off against drinking and cocaine. At least that's the word from a popular gossip site, which reported that the boxing champ checked into rehab a few weeks ago after substance abuse led him to stray from his marriage.
"After doing an honest evaluation of myself, I recognize that there are certain issues that I need to work on," De La Hoya told TMZ. "Like everyone, I have my flaws, and I do not want to be one of those people that is afraid to admit and address those flaws."
If the reports of marital infidelity are true, De La Hoya would hardly be the first substance abuser to blame drugs or alcohol. But do experts buy that explanation - or do they consider it just a convenient excuse?
"There is a very common link between infidelity and substance abuse," addiction expert Dr. Harris B. Stratyner, regional clinical vice president of Caron Treatment Centers, told CBS News.
Stratyner said cocaine use can make people lose their inhibitions by creating a "hypomanic" state, which is marked by feelings of grandiosity and impulisivity. That could contribute to inappropriate behavior like infidelity, he said.
Hypomania is associated with abnormal levels of neurotransmitters levels like dopamine and serotonin, and cocaine can trigger additional changes in those levels. "Sometimes you'll see people with mood disorders to begin with and you add cocaine and it's like gasoline to a fire," Stratyner said. Straytner is not involvled in De La Hoya's care.
No matter what led De La Hoya to seek treatment, he seems ready for the challenge he says he faces.
On his twitter account, he told fans in Spanish, "I promise that I will rise from the canvas and knock out this sickness and continue to grow as a person."
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has more on substance abuse.