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Sexual Addiction

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Sexual addiction facts

  • Sexual addiction is a condition that involves the sufferer becoming excessively preoccupied with thoughts or behaviors that give a desired sexual effect.
  • More than 30 million people are thought to suffer from a sexual addiction in the United States alone.
  • Paraphilias are disorders that involve the sufferer becoming sexually aroused by objects or actions that are considered less conventional and/or less easily accessible to the sex addict.
  • Sexual addictions may be either paraphilic or nonparaphilic. Nonparaphilic addictions are classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as sexual disorder, not otherwise specified.
  • No one factor is thought to cause sexual addiction, but there are thought to be biological, psychological, and social factors that contribute to the development of these disorders.
  • Sex addicts have been described as suffering from a negative pattern of sexual behavior that leads to significant problems or distress.
  • As is true with virtually any other mental-health diagnosis, there is no one test that definitively indicates that someone has a sexual addiction. Therefore, health-care practitioners diagnose these disorders by gathering comprehensive medical, family, and mental-health information to distinguish sexual addiction from medical and other mental-health disorders.
  • Many people with a sexual addiction benefit from the support and structure of recovery groups or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). When sexual compulsions become severe, the sufferer may require inpatient treatment or participation in an intensive outpatient treatment program.
  • Seroetoninergic (SSRI) antidepressants, antiseizure medications, naltrexone, and medications that decrease male hormones have been found to decrease the compulsive urges and/or impulses associated with sexual addictions for some sufferers.
  • The prognosis of sexual addictions depends on a number of factors.
  • Prevention of sexual addiction may involve interventions that enhance self-esteem and self-image, addressing emotional problems, educating children about the dangers of excessive internet use, monitoring and limiting computer use, and screening out pornographic sites.
  • Sex addiction is associated with a number of potential medical, occupational, legal, social, and emotional complications.
  • Research on sexual addiction includes exploring potential risk factors and developing accurate screening and assessment tools for these disorders.


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