Sex Addiction / Over-active Sexual Desire (Hyperactive Sexual desire disorder)

Over-active Sexual Desire is also known as ‘Hypersexuality’.  It a condition defined as an extremely frequent or suddenly increased libido. It is currently controversial whether it should be included as a clinical diagnosis used by mental healthcare professionals. ‘Nymphomania’ and ‘satyriasis’ were terms previously used for the condition, in women and men respectively.

Hypersexuality may be a primary condition, or the symptom of another medical disease or condition, for example, Klüver-Bucy syndrome (bilateral lesions of the medial temporal lobe) or bipolar disorder (previously known as manic depression). Hypersexuality may also present as a side effect of medication such as drugs used to treat Parkinson’s disease.

Clinicians have yet to reach a consensus over how best to describe hypersexuality as a primary condition, or to determine the appropriateness of describing such behaviors and impulses as a separate pathology.

Hypersexual behaviours are viewed variously by clinicians and therapists as a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or “OCD-spectrum disorder”, an addiction, or a disorder of impulsivity. A number of authors do not acknowledge such a pathology and instead assert that the condition merely reflects a cultural dislike of exceptional sexual behavior.

Consistent with there not being any consensus over what causes hypersexuality, authors have used many different labels to refer to it, sometimes interchangeably, but often depending on which theory they favor or which specific behavior they were studying. Contemporary names include compulsive masturbation, compulsive sexual behavior, cybersex addiction, erotomania (delusional disorder), “excessive sexual drive”,  hyperphilia, hypersexuality, hypersexual disorder, problematic hypersexuality, sexual addiction, sexual compulsivity, sexual dependency, sexual impulsivity, “out of control sexual behavior”, and paraphilia-related disorder.

Hypersexuality is known to present itself as a symptom in connection to a number of mental and neurological disorders. Some people with borderline personality disorder (sometimes referred to as BPD) can be markedly impulsive, seductive, and extremely sexual. Sexual promiscuity, sexual obsessions, and hypersexuality are very common symptoms for both men and women with BPD. On occasion for some there can be extreme forms of paraphilic drives and desires (experience of intense sexual arousal to atypical objects, situations, fantasies, behaviors, or individuals). “Borderline” patients, due in the opinion of some to the use of splitting (failure in a person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities), experience love and sexuality in unstable ways.

People with bipolar disorder may often display tremendous swings in sex drive depending on their mood. As defined in the DSM-IV, hypersexuality can be a symptom of hypomania or mania in bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder. Pick’s disease (frontotemporal dementia) causes damage to the temporal/frontal lobe of the brain; people with Pick’s disease show a range of socially inappropriate behaviors.

Several neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, autism, various types of brain injury,[42] Klüver–Bucy syndrome, Kleine–Levin syndrome (a rare disorder characterized by persistent episodic hypersomnia and cognitive or mood changes) and many more neurodegenerative diseases can cause hypersexual behavior. Sexually inappropriate behavior has been shown to occur in 7–8% of Alzheimer’s patients living at home, at a care facility or in a hospital setting. Hypersexuality has also been reported to result as a side-effect of some medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease. Some street drugs, such as methamphetamine, may also contribute to hypersexual behavior.

A positive link between the severity of dementia and occurrence of inappropriate behavior has also been found. Hypersexuality can be caused by dementia in a number of ways, including disinhibition due to organic disease, misreading of social cues, under-stimulation, the persistence of learned sexual behaviour after other behaviours have been lost, and the side-effects of the drugs used to treat dementia.  Other possible causes of dementia-related hypersexuality include an inappropriately expressed psychological need for intimacy and forgetfulness of the recent past. As this illness progresses, increasing hypersexuality has been theorized to sometimes compensate for declining self-esteem and cognitive function.

Symptoms of hypersexuality are also similar to those of sexual addiction in that they embody similar traits. These symptoms include the inability to be intimate (intimacy anorexia), depression and bipolar disorders. The resulting hypersexuality may have an impact in the person’s social and occupational domains if the underlying symptoms have a large enough systemic influence.

Adapted from:  https://psychcentral.com/lib/hypersexuality