Hypersexuality Possibly Recognized as a Mental Disorder

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-Disregarding physical or emotional harm the sexual actions can cause to self or others.

The diagnosis must also prove that the behavior causes “clinically significant distress or impairment" that interrupts a person’s home and professional life.

“If this problem gets to the point where you are being labeled as a philanderer or a scoundrel or a nasty narcissist, and it happens there is a label of hypersexuality disorder that does validly describe the nature of your behavior, one possibility is reframing the problem and getting medical treatment,” Kafka said.

Even though the recognition can further research and treatment, some mental health experts believe that adding hypsexuality to the disorder list can be easily abused.

“There may be some very small percentage of people who could qualify for addiction to sex, but if it ever became a diagnosis, it would be wildly misapplied,” said Dr. Allen Frances, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University. “Addiction implies that you keep doing it when there is no more pleasure and it causes harm. It becomes an excuse to misbehave.”

Frances, who worked on the revisions to the DSM-4, also believes that there are disorders already on the list that can be viewed as normal behaviors.

“Medicalizing this sort of misbehavior is reducing personal responsibility and acting like there is a medical solution,” Frances said. “There is very little scientific evidence and the boundaries are fuzzy.”

Kafka said that there is more clinical data than scientific information on hypersexuality and adding it to the list can open doors for more specific research.

“By calling it an illness, you could be quite relieved that for something you have not really been able to control on your own, help is available,” he said.

After reading the official description and symptoms of hypersexuality, Cane feels more people would be less likely to judge him if the disorder was recognized as an official mental illness.

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