Just this week, a UCLA research team released study results which reportedly affirm a set of criteria they propose be used to define and diagnose “hypersexual disorder,” (also known as sexual addiction). Their goal is to have these criteria adopted used as the basis to include hypersexual disorder as a new mental health condition in the revised edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The DSM is considered to be the “bible” of psychiatry. DSM codes associated with various mental health conditions are standardized in the industry and used for analysis, reporting and treatment recommendations of psychiatric patients.
The DSM is also used by courts to determine if a defendant was cognizant at the time the criminal act took place, knew right from wrong, and is capable of standing trial. Use of a psychiatric report may also be used to determine if a defendant will go to prison or instead, to a plush mental health facility if convicted.
Though many are lauding this study as a significant step towards treating sexual addiction as a serious illness, I am very concerned. Adoption of sexual addiction as a mental illness is to me just another step towards giving men that rape and molest children an easy out.
ScienceDaily (Oct. 18, 2012) — The idea that an individual might suffer from a sexual addiction is great fodder for radio talk shows, comedians and late night TV. But a sex addiction is no laughing matter. Relationships are destroyed, jobs are lost, lives ruined.
Yet psychiatrists have been reluctant to accept the idea of out-of-control sexual behavior as a mental health disorder because of the lack of scientific evidence.
Now a UCLA-led team of experts has tested a proposed set of criteria to define “hypersexual disorder,” also known as sexual addiction, as a new mental health condition.
Rory Reid, a research psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, led a team of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and marriage and family therapists that found the proposed criteria to be reliable and valid in helping mental health professionals accurately diagnose hypersexual disorder.
The results of this study — reported in the current edition of the Journal of Sexual Medicine — will influence whether hypersexual disorder should be included in the forthcoming revised fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), considered the “bible” of psychiatry.
The importance of the study, Reid said, is that it suggests evidence in support of hypersexual disorder as a legitimate mental health condition.
“The criteria for hypersexual disorder that have been proposed, and now tested, will allow researchers and clinicians to study, treat and develop prevention strategies for individuals at risk for developing hypersexual behavior,” he said.
The criteria, developed by a DSM-5 sexual and gender identity disorders work group for the revised manual, establish a number of symptoms that must be present. These include a recurring pattern of sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors lasting a period of six months or longer that are not caused by other issues, such as substance abuse, another medical condition or manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder. Also, individuals who might be diagnosed with this disorder must show a pattern of sexual activity in response to unpleasant mood states, such as feeling depressed, or a pattern of repeatedly using sex as a way of coping with stress.
Part of the criteria also states that individuals must be unsuccessful in their attempts to reduce or stop sexual activities they believe are problematic.
“As with many other mental health disorders,” said Reid, “there must also be evidence of personal distress caused by the sexual behaviors that interfere with relationships, work or other important aspects of life.”
In order to evaluate the criteria for hypersexual disorder, Reid and his colleagues conducted psychological testing and interviews with 207 patients in several mental health clinics around the country. All of the patients were seeking help for out-of-control sexual behavior, a substance-abuse disorder or another psychiatric condition, such as depression or anxiety.
The researchers found that the proposed criteria for hypersexual disorder accurately classified 88 percent of hypersexual patients as having the disorder; the criteria were also accurate in identifying negative results 93 percent of the time. In other words, the criteria appear to do a good job of discriminating between patients who experience hypersexual behavior and those who don’t, such as patients seeking help for other mental health conditions like anxiety, depression or substance abuse.
“The results lead us to believe that the proposed criteria tend not to identify patients who don’t have problems with their sexual behavior,” Reid said. “This is a significant finding, since many had expressed concerns that the proposal would falsely classify individuals.”
Reid also noted that the ability of the criteria to accurately identify hypersexual disorder in these patients was quite high and compared favorably to other psychiatric diagnoses.
Another significant finding of the study, he said, was that patients who met the criteria for hypersexual disorder experienced significantly greater consequences for their sexual activities, compared with individuals with a substance-abuse diagnosis or a general medical condition. Of the 207 patients they examined, 17 percent had lost a job at least once, 39 percent had a relationship end, 28 percent contracted a sexually transmitted infection and 78 percent had interference with healthy sex.
“So an individual meeting the criteria for hypersexual disorder can experience significant challenges and consequences in their life,” Reid said. “Our study showed increased hypersexual behavior was related to greater emotional disturbance, impulsivity and an inability to manage stress.”
Interestingly, the researchers found that 54 percent of the hypersexual patients felt their sexual behavior began to be problematic before the age of 18. Another 30 percent reported that their sexual behavior began to be problematic during their college-aged years, from 18 to 25.
“This appears to be a disorder that emerges in adolescence and young adulthood, which has ramifications for early intervention and prevention strategies,” Reid said.
The study also examined the types of sexual behavior that hypersexual patients reported. The most common included masturbation and excessive use of pornography, followed by sex with another consenting adult and cybersex. The study noted that hypersexual patients had sex with commercial sex workers, had repeated affairs or had multiple anonymous partners — amounting to an average of 15 sex partners in the previous 12-month period.
“It’s not that a lot of people don’t take sexual risks from time to time or use sex on occasion to cope with stress or just escape, but for these patients, it’s a constant pattern that escalates until their desire for sex is controlling every aspect of their lives and they feel powerless in their efforts to change,” Reid noted.
Other authors on the study included Heather McKittrick, Margarit Davtian, and senior author Dr. Timothy Fong, all of UCLA; Bruce N. Carpenter and Randy Gilliland of Brigham Young University; Joshua N. Hook of the University of North Texas; Sheila Garos of Texas Tech University; Jill C. Manning, in private practice; and Erin B. Cooper of Temple University. Dr. Fong has the following relationships: speaker’s bureau for Reckitt Benckiser, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and grant support from Psyadon Pharmaceuticals. The other authors report no conflict of interest.
Most of the study was unfunded; researchers donated their time. Some travel expense was funded internally through the UCLA Department of Psychiatry.
Study’s Possible Impact on Women and Children
Particular Dangers for Single Mothers
It is no accident that reported incidents of child rape and molestation have exploded 350%+ as the number of single parent homes headed by women has increased. Pedophiles target single mothers. Why? Because they know the children are hungry for male attention, and that the single Moms are often lonely and seeking validation of their desirability as women. Single Moms and their children are easy targets and the most at-risk demographic for child rape, molestation and murder.
Strategies used by child molesters to gain access to your children and manipulate your trust to establish alone time with your child include:
- Befriending parents (particularly single parents) to gain access to their children
- Offering free or low-cost babysitting services to struggling, stressed parents or caregivers
- Taking jobs with or volunteering in organizations/at events that involve children
- Attending sporting events for children
- Dating one single mom after another
- Offering to coach your child for sports
- Volunteering in or starting youth organizations, especially those serving disadvantaged youths
- Volunteering to chaperone overnight trips, camping trips, etc.
- Hanging around places children are like malls, parks, playgrounds, schools and arcades
- Becoming foster parents
This list is designed to alert you to the dangers around you. Many single Moms already are aware, which is the reason a LOT of single moms choose to stay single until their children are older, or are grown and out of the house entirely. Studies show that the risk of child abuse is 33 times higher if a single mother is cohabiting with her latest “boyfriend.”
Just because a man you meet “seems so nice” is no reason to trust him around your home while you are asleep or in another room, nor should you allow him to be alone with your children for any reason.
Any parent with young children need to arm themselves. See that your children are enrolled in a self-defense class. Teach your children to be observant and not to trust everyone just because they are an adult. Keep lines of communication open so your children feel comfortable telling you ANYTHING. Assure them that anyone saying they will hurt you is lying and that you will always protect them.
In other words, if you have children keep them close and watch them like a hawk. The time is coming when legal protections against with children in this country will be eradicated, which is exactly what lawmakers are pushing for.
Rory C. Reid, Bruce N. Carpenter, Joshua N. Hook, Sheila Garos, Jill C. Manning, Randy Gilliland, Erin B. Cooper, Heather McKittrick, Margarit Davtian, Timothy Fong. Report of Findings in a DSM-5 Field Trial for Hypersexual Disorder. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02936.x
Robert Whelan, Broken Homes & Battered Children: A Study of the Relationship Between Child Abuse and Family Type, Family Education Trust, London, 1993.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, A Nation’s Shame: Fatal Child Abuse and Neglect in the United States, Fifth Report, United States Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect, 1995.
Category: Society and Culture