Is Sex Addiction a Misused Diagnosis?

Sex addiction is still not a medically recognized disorder, as far as the DSM-IV is concerned. Considered the bible of diagnoses, the DSM-IV rules the way doctors practice, pharmaceutical companies market, and insurance companies reimburse treatments. Psychiatrists and psychologists alike concur that sexual addictions are real- diagnosable mental disorders or not. The digital age of easy to access porn has contributed to the development of hypersexuality in younger and younger ages- both male and female. Scientific study points out that sexual related issues, such as erectile dysfunction, are occurring at younger ages; reason being, they hypothesize, excessive masturbation due to sexual compulsivity.

Processing addictions or processing disorders is a general category given to non-substance specific mental conditions. Instead of being addicted to a thing in itself, process addictions are a matter of the entirety of a particular process. Common process addictions include gambling or shopping addiction. Most addictions have a minimal amount of their cause due to the substance or process itself. For example, eating disorders are usually about deeper issues with trauma, shame, and perfectionism, than they are about food.

Each process addiction creates an imbalance in dopamine production, similar to substance abuse. Sex especially, which can result in sexual climax, produces hormones and dopamine that create an overload of pleasure signals within the brain. Also like substance addictions, sex addiction creates a threshold, or a tolerance level for pleasure. Unable to reach an equal level of pleasure, more stimulus will be needed. Often this begins a debilitating cycle, imprisoning an addict to their substance or process of choice.

In society, sex addiction continues to blame sex as it’s culprit. The legal system is finding an influx of cases being rested on an argument of sex addiction. reports that in 2015, 48% of administrative law hearings for non-substance addiction cases “involved claims of sex addiction”. “Even though claims of sex addiction fail to meet legal standards of expert testimony,” the author writes, “it appears that most claims of sex addiction go unchallenged in court”.

Without a standardization in what constitutes sex addiction, it is likely that the condition will be widely misused. Most unfortunately, it will continue to go misunderstood. People who truly suffer from an addiction to sexual compulsivity will not

Refuge Recovery sees sex addiction as a diagnosable and treatable condition. We provide treatment programs for sex addiction, other processing disorders, and substance abuse. Call us today for more information on our programs of treatment 323-207-0276.

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