While hypersexual disorder can only be diagnosed in adults 18 years or older according to proposed criteria in the DSM V, increasingly teens are manifesting signs of hypersexuality which leads to problematic behaviors for themselves and others. The best intervention is prevention, so interventing early is key with teens struggling with hypersexual behaviors. Often misunderstood as unusually high sex drive, hypersexual disorder is more similar to traditional addictions including drugs, alcohol and gambling.
Just as a drug addict craves his next fix, thinks he can stop on his own but fails over and over, uses drugs to ease emotional pain, and continues to use despite the negative consequences, so it is with a teen developing a hypersexual disorder. Like other addictions, sex addiction is progressive. It often starts with a relatively harmless behavior such as a pattern of masturbating to pornography. Eventually, these behaviors lead to other types of sexual activity that can be very wreckless and harmful to themselves and others.
For the teen sex addict, sexual activity provides a euphoria or “high” without any emotional connection, intimacy, or love. It’s a temporary escape. Once the euphoria fades, the addiction cycle starts all over again. For the addict, the activity is not fulfilling. It has a significant negative impact on his life and often causes a lot of shame and self-loathing.
For teens, the following are common sex addiction indicators:
In 2010, the American Psychiatric Association released draft, preliminary criteria that may define “sex addiction,” which they are formally called Hypersexual Disorder. While still not officially recognized as a formal diagnosis, the criteria has been laid out:
Over a period of at least six months, a person experiences recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges, and sexual behavior in association with four or more of the following five criteria:
Excessive time is consumed by sexual fantasies and urges, and by planning for and engaging in sexual behavior.
Repetitively engaging in these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to dysphoric mood states (e.g., anxiety, depression, boredom, irritability).
Repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to stressful life events.
Repetitive but unsuccessful efforts to control or significantly reduce these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior.
Repetitively engaging in sexual behavior while disregarding the risk for physical or emotional harm to self or others.
The person experiences clinically significant personal distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning associated with the frequency and intensity of these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior.
These sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior are not due to direct physiological effects of drugs or medications, or to Manic Episodes.
For teens and young adults who display these symptoms, it is important to seek professional help early and disrupt these patterns while still young. The earlier that treatment can occur, the greater the prognosis for recovery.Free Consultation Now Get Help Today! Call 800.584.4629