Sex Addiction as a Disease: Evidence for Assessment, Diagnosis, and Response to Critics


Phillips, Bonnie; Hajela, Raju; and Hilton, Donald L.


2015 in Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, Vol. 22(2), pp. 167-192

  • This review article address several of the main criticisms of sex addiction and review dozens of studies related to pornography as a behavioral addiction.
The journey of addiction treatment is marked with significant societal, clinical, and scientific advances over the past few decades. Not too long ago, addiction was viewed as a moral failing and those suffering with addiction were treated harshly and with great prejudice and fear. One thing remains evident, significant change is difficult to come by is met with resistance, and it takes the perseverance and vision of a collective force of individuals to bring about the change. Addiction is one disease that has been maligned... READ FULL ABSTRACT
  • "As we continue to face a myriad of individual, family, and societal issues related to addiction, how we treat addiction also has to change. Addiction treatment has come a long way but has a long way yet to go. As seen throughout this article, the common criticisms of sex as a legitimate addiction do not hold up when compared to the movement within the clinical and scientific communities over the past few decades. There is ample scientific evidence and support for sex as well as other behaviors to be accepted as addiction. This support is coming from multiple fields of practice and offers incredible hope to truly embrace change as we better understand the problem."
  • "Decades of research and developments in the field of addiction medicine and neuroscience reveal the underlying brain mechanisms involved in addiction. Scientists have identified common pathways affected by addictive behavior as well as differences between the brains of addicted and non-addicted individuals, revealing common elements of addiction, regardless of the substance or behavior. However, there remains a gap between the scientific advances and the understanding by the general public, public policy, and treatment advances. The realities of addiction in our country and in the world must be faced. One of these realities includes accepting natural or process aspects of addiction, such as sex, food, and gambling as integral to the disease processes just as chemicals, such as alcohol, tobacco and other drugs."
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