World Health Organization lists sex addiction as mental illness

Desiree Burns
July 11, 2018

Compulsive sexual behaviour or addiction to sex has been declared as a mental illness by the World Health Organisation, but in India, to identify or treat such a disorder will be a humungous challenge, explained mental health experts.

Dr. Voon continued that WHO did the right thing adding sex addiction to the of mental health disorders as it will allow more people to recognize they have a problem.

In the document, "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". To be diagnosed with the disorder, the person must be suffering from it for at least six months and should be facing distress due to it.

It is the dependency on sex to "numb out negative emotions and hard experiences", and most sex addicts struggle to stop or limit their behaviour.

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It is thought that up to four per cent of people in the United Kingdom have sex addiction. With the country accepting disorders like anxiety and depression only now, psychiatrists state that it will be quite a task to identify sex addiction.

"It is a behaviour that tends to be hidden as it's shameful and often sex addicts don't come forward".

"We hear from many people unable to control their sexual behavior", said Ammanda Major, who is a part of relationship charity Relate, welcoming the move. "This often negatively impacts on their lives and the wellbeing of partners and families". It's important that the necessary funding is made available to support anyone affected by these issues.

This decision to class sex addiction as a mental illness comes very shortly after video game addiction received the same classification by the organisation, sparkling controversy. In 2013, a questionnaire given by the Sex Addiction Help website stated that 91 percent of those looking for help for their addiction were male.

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