In a landmark move by the World Health Organization (WHO), compulsive sexual behavior was classified as a mental disorder. World Health Organization (WHO) released its International Classification of Diseases manual (ICD-11), stating sex addiction as a mental illness. There is still a debate among mental health experts as to whether the condition is real.
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is the bedrock for health statistics. ICD is the foundation for the identification of health trends and statistics globally, and the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. It is the diagnostic classification standard for all clinical and research purposes. ICD defines the universe of diseases, disorders, injuries and other related health conditions.
Compulsive sexual behavior disorder is characterized by a persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges resulting in repetitive sexual behavior.
Symptoms of compulsive sexual behavior include sex becoming the “central focus” of the person’s life at the ignorance of health, personal care or interests, and responsibilities. The pattern of failure to control intense, sexual impulses or urges and resulting repetitive sexual behavior is manifested over an extended period of time (e.g., 6 months or more), and causes marked distress or significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
For centuries, people have been trying to understand what is the cause of hypersexuality. It has been called all sorts of names over the years, but it’s really only been in the last 40 years that we’ve tried to understand it from an academic perspective,” said Dr. Timothy Fong, a clinical professor of psychiatry to CNN Health.
The disorder may interfere with someone’s ability to go to work or finish school. It can hurt relationships. However, someone with this disorder may want to resist their constant urge for sex but becomes unsuccessful. They may not even get pleasure from the repeated sexual activity.
There was also a controversy when WHO added gaming disorders to the list of mental health disorders in June, this year. Few health care providers agree that the condition is worthy of inclusion but some clinicians debate whether it is a standalone disorder. Others doubt whether sex can be addictive and view the label as potentially shaming.
“It allows us to better articulate who has a problem and who doesn’t, and it takes it out of the hands of the client or the culture or the church and puts it squarely on the science,” said Robert Weiss, an addiction specialist to CNN. He added “It tells us that this is unrelated to sexual orientation or gender identity, and we didn’t have that before. It takes out all that judgment.”