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In the brain disease model of addiction, which uses neuropsychological concepts to characterize addictions, sexual addictions are identifiable and well-characterized.
Addictive behaviors (those which can induce a compulsive state) are similarly identified and characterized by their rewarding and reinforcing properties.
As a result, treatment for sex addiction is more often provided by addiction professionals than psychosexual specialists.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common form of behavioral treatment for addictions and maladaptive behaviors in general.
Dialectical behavior therapy has been shown to improve treatment outcomes as well.
Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (CSAT) – a group of sexual addiction therapists certified by the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals – offer specialized behavioral therapy designed specifically for sexual addiction.
There is considerable debate amongst psychiatrists, psychologists, sexologists, and other specialists whether compulsive sexual behavior constitutes an addiction, and therefore its classification and possible diagnosis.
As of 2017, sexual addiction is not a clinical diagnosis in either the DSM or ICD medical classifications of diseases and medical disorders.
Support groups may be useful for uninsured or under-insured individuals.Some argue that applying such concepts to normal behaviors such as sex, can be problematic, and suggest that applying medical models such as addiction to human sexuality can serve to pathologise normal behavior and cause harm Neuroscientists, pharmacologists, molecular biologists, and other researchers in related fields have identified the transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms of 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.The version published in 1987 (DSM-III-R), referred to "distress about a pattern of repeated sexual conquests or other forms of nonparaphilic sexual addiction, involving a succession of people who exist only as things to be used." Darrel Regier, vice-chair of the DSM-5 task force, said that "[A]lthough 'hypersexuality' is a proposed new addition...[the phenomenon] was not at the point where we were ready to call it an addiction." The proposed diagnosis does not make the cut as an official diagnosis due to a lack of research into diagnostic criteria for compulsive sexual behavior, according to the APA.The World Health Organization produces the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is not limited to mental disorders.
Therefore, it is the position of AASECT that linking problems related to sexual urges, thoughts or behaviors to a porn/sexual addiction process cannot be advanced by AASECT as a standard of practice for sexuality education delivery, counseling or therapy." As of 2017, none of the official regulatory bodies for Psychosexual Counselling or Sex and Relationship therapy, have accepted sex addiction as a distinct entity with associated treatment protocols.