Sex Addiction has Been Officially Classed as a Mental Illness by the World Health Organization

Sex addiction has been officially classed as a mental illness by the World Health Organization for the first time. Its inclusion on the International Classification of Diseases list marks a turning point in the way people who present with sex addiction will be treated. Sex addicts usually have what is considered an “excessive” amount of sex, and often feel distressed during or afterwards. Sex addiction usually makes the person feel that they have a lack of control over their urges.

WHO’s list describes sex addiction as a “persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges resulting in a repetitive sexual behavior.” In order to be diagnosed, a person should be showing symptoms for six months or more. It is thought that up to four per cent of people in the UK have sex addiction.

Dr. Valerie Voon, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of Cambridge, described the decision to classify sex addiction as a mental illness as “an excellent step”. “It allows them to recognize that they are suffering with a problem. It is a behavior that tends to be hidden as it’s shameful and often sex addicts don’t come forward,” she said.

Ammanda Major, Head of Clinical Practice at the charity, said they deal with people who are “unable to control their sexual behavior.” “This often negatively impacts on their lives as well as on the mental health and wellbeing of their partners and families. It’s important that the necessary funding is made available to support anyone affected by these issues. “Currently, few services exist, but we hope this will now begin to change.”

The move comes shortly after the same body also decided that video-game addiction is a disorder. It has been included on the same list as sex addiction. The NHS currently does not recognize sex addiction as a mental illness, however this could change in the future now that the WHO has changed its stance.

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  • So technically, if you read between the lines, it means that porn compulsion has also been classified as a medical condition. Next step is the DSM...that'll be a few years, but it will get there. Notice I didn't say "addiction." There is no use of the word addiction in the definition. It kind of sucks, because all it does is qualify sexually compulsive behavior as a mental illness. That may help in some ways and hurt in others. It will be interesting to see what the insurance companies have to say.
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