The field of psychology heavily researched for well over a century. During that time, researchers have been able to identify and refine many of the disorders we understand today, like depression, anxiety, and ADHD. But, despite all of this research, there is still some controversy about the existence of certain types of mental health disorders, and one example of this is sex addiction.
Sex addiction is not a recognized addiction according to the DSM-V – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual that psychologists, like those at Long Island Psychology, typically use to diagnose specific mental health conditions. There is also a considerable amount of questions about it:
- Most people enjoy sex, and many people engage in reckless sexual behavior.
- Not everyone that engages in frequent sex would say it causes them life distress.
- References to sex addiction, especially in media, often use it as a way to explain away other unwanted behaviors, such as infidelity in the relationship.
The DSM-V doesn’t deny that sex addiction *may* be real, but it currently believes more research is needed.
Another diagnostic manual, known as the International Classification of Disease (ICD), *does* recognize sex addiction as a real addiction. The 11th edition, known as the ICD-11, includes what is known as “compulsive sexual behavior.” It is defined as a consistent inability to control sexual desire and sexual urges in a way that ends up causing them severe distress.
Those that have this “compulsive sexual behavior” will find themselves with a strong desire to engage in sex in ways that lack self-control, but will not be happy that they engaged in the encounter. It also has to be consistent and repetitive, rather than a few examples of acting on impulse.
What Dr. Marc Shulman of Long Island Psychology Believes
Dr. Shulman, the founder of Long Island Psychology, does believe that sex addiction is a real addiction that can adversely affect someone’s life and have dire consequences if not controlled. That is why he treats sex addiction in his practice. Perhaps more importantly, he also believes that it is not important whether or not someone has an official diagnosis, because what matter is how much the behavior and activity causes distress and has an impact on the person’s life.
This is a belief that our team at Long Island Psychology has about most mental health. If you feel like you’re struggling, or you feel like you need help, Long Island Psychology’s therapists will be there to provide the help you need, with or without a diagnosis. Contact us today to learn more.