Reflections - Definition of Addiction Types
Sexual addiction, also known as sex addiction, is a state characterized by compulsive participation or engagement in sexual activity, particularly sexual intercourse, despite negative consequences. Proponents of a diagnostic model for sexual addiction, as defined here, consider it to be one of several sex-related disorders within an umbrella concept known as hypersexual disorder. In clinical diagnostics, the term sexual dependence may also refer to a conceptual model that is used to assess people who report being unable to control their sexual urges, behaviors, or thoughts. Related models of pathological sexual behavior include hypersexuality, erotomania, nymphomania, satyriasis, Don Juanism (or Don Juanitaism), and paraphilia-related disorders. Clinicians, such as psychiatrists, sociologists, sexologists, and other specialists, have differing opinions on the classification and clinical diagnosis of sexual addiction. As a result, "sexual addiction" does not exist as a clinical entity in either the DSM or ICD medical classifications of diseases and medical disorders.
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Neuroscientists, pharmacologists, molecular biologists, and other researchers in related fields have identified a transcriptional and epigenetic model of drug and behavioral (including sexual) addiction pathophysiology. Diagnostic models, which use the pharmacological model of addiction (this model associates addiction with drug-related concepts, particularly physical dependence, drug withdrawal, and drug tolerance), do not currently include diagnostic criteria to identify sexual addictions in a clinical setting. In the alternative reward-reinforcement model of addiction, which uses neuropsychological concepts to characterize addictions, sexual addictions are identifiable and well-characterized. In this model, addictive drugs are characterized as those which are both reinforcing and rewarding (i.e., activates neural pathways associated with reward perception). Addictive behaviors (those which can induce a compulsive state) are similarly identified and characterized by their rewarding and reinforcing properties.
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