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WHO Recognizes ‘Compulsive Sexual Behavioral Disorder’

The debate on sex as an actual diagnosable addiction has been long, strenuous, and frustrating. Researchers have declared that the way sex “addiction” acts in the brain is less along the lines of an addiction and closer to a compulsive behavioral issue. Yet the people who have lived with “sex addiction”, in addition to the therapists and clinicians who have treated them, know the symptoms of the issue to be extremely close to an addiction. Some have scoffed that sex addiction isn’t real at all, disregarding the obsessive and compulsive sexual issues some people face. Others emphasize that the experience people have in relation to compulsive sex is extremely real and often rooted in some other kind of sexual trauma.

Though many regard the DSM, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as the “holy grail” of official diagnoses, the World Health Organization, called WHO, is also considered a leading and authoritative opinion. Often, what is included in WHO’s International Classification of Diseases eventually ends up in the DSM and gains international recognition amongst scientific, academic, and clinical communities.

The most recent release of the ICD included “compulsive sexual behavior” as an impulse-control disorder. Addiction is, arguably, an impulse control disorder. People who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or processes are unable to regulate and manage their compulsive urges. Addiction can also be described as an obsessive compulsive disorder because people affected by addiction experiencing cyclical, ruminating, obsessive thinking about their source of addiction. However, an impulse control disorder is different from an addiction and the language of the recent ICD does not suggest an addiction.

According to the published manual, a Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder is “characterized by a persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges resulting in repetitive sexual behaviour.”

Before designating sex as an addiction, WHO emphasizes the need for more research and a better understanding of the brain mechanisms at work during the experience of sexual compulsion. With an official understanding of sexual-related issues, treatment providers and those who are suffering have better structure for recovery. Even without the designation of “addiction” it is now internationally recognized that the suffering of individuals when it comes to sexual compulsions is real and real treatment is needed.

At The Guest House Ocala, we welcome everyone who has experienced trauma and, as a result, is suffering from addictions, mental health disorders, or other manifestations. Our programs are custom tailored to the specific experiences and needs of each client. Everyone has a story. Change yours today. Call us at Call 1-855-483-7800.