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  #21  
Old 07-04-2011, 07:24 PM
serialmonogamist serialmonogamist is offline
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Originally Posted by Minxxa View Post
On the topic of sex addiction I agree with Marty Klein:

http://www.sexed.org/archive/article08.html
That article is hard to deal with because it is very reactionary toward the idea of sex addiction without really discussing alternative perspectives on the types of behavior that might be labelled as "addiction." Likewise, he says that a 12-step type approach might not be the best way to deal with sex addiction but he doesn't really say why or what would work better, etc. In other words, the whole article seems more concerned with the idea of sex addiction as a problem than with addressing why or why not certain sexual behaviors might be(come) problematic or addictive. I am very interested in various reasoning why sex can't be an addiction and, if not, what is good about the behaviors that are getting it labelled as "addiction." I just wish the discussion would be on that level instead of accusations & defensiveness about addiction as a buzz-concept.

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Let us not mix up addictions and compulsive behavior. It doesn't do justice to either of the issues or anybody suffering from either of them.
Ok, what is the difference? Can someone who feels a compulsive desire to engage in various sexual activities still not be addicted? I think you could develop this into an interesting discussion, but it seems more like you're just saying not to mix things up to make the discussion harder and more strained. If this isn't your intent, sorry that I got that impression. Do you actually want to discuss this issue of compulsion vs. addiction with regards to sex?
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  #22  
Old 07-04-2011, 10:45 PM
Minxxa Minxxa is offline
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Yes. When u are addicted to a substance you suffer physical withdrawal symptoms. You may also have emotional and mental withdrawal but it's not a physical thing. When you act compulsively you want to do that thing for many mental emotional and varied reasons. Bumif you do not you will not get sick throw up or have any truly physical symptoms.

Treating compulsive symptoms is more like treating OCD than addictions. But I am coming from a therapeutic point of view not that of a laypersons. I feel that people use the word addictions in lieu of compulsions for many reasons but they are not the same.

I will answer more when I am not on my phone and on vacation. ;-)
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  #23  
Old 07-04-2011, 11:08 PM
serialmonogamist serialmonogamist is offline
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Originally Posted by Minxxa View Post
Yes. When u are addicted to a substance you suffer physical withdrawal symptoms. You may also have emotional and mental withdrawal but it's not a physical thing. When you act compulsively you want to do that thing for many mental emotional and varied reasons. Bumif you do not you will not get sick throw up or have any truly physical symptoms.

Treating compulsive symptoms is more like treating OCD than addictions. But I am coming from a therapeutic point of view not that of a laypersons. I feel that people use the word addictions in lieu of compulsions for many reasons but they are not the same.

I will answer more when I am not on my phone and on vacation. ;-)
It's good you have clinical experience to share. It feels like you are pulling rank by mentioning it, so allow me to just say that my interest is in discussing the topic and not in establishing who has the right to make legitimate claims and who doesn't.

Not all "addictions" are chemical and withdrawal can take many forms. I would call anything addictive that involves habit-forming, but that includes practically everything people do. Just because almost everything is addictive and addiction is much broader than people usually like to think of it doesn't mean it ceases to be a relevant concept or that it's not a good idea to address the addictive aspects of whatever to become that much more empowered over your choices of how to live.

Anyway, I look forward to hearing more from you when you post. I hope you won't just try to define addiction in a narrow way that excludes the possibility that sex can be addictive. I think sexual pleasure can be as therapeutic as a drug (sexual healing?) and so like any drug that doesn't require a prescription, users can fall into the habit of overusing/abusing it as a crutch or otherwise become dependent. Since sex is a natural biological function as well, I'm more interested in discussing what differentiates healthy use from addictive abuse instead of just asserting or denying that it can be an addiction in the first place. Of course, if you really find that these reasons don't make sex addictive, I'd like to understand your reasoning.
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  #24  
Old 07-04-2011, 11:20 PM
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I think of a compulsion as more about an act or behavior; basically you feel compelled to do something. I see an addiction as more about a substance or thing one is drawn to, perhaps mostly as an escape (but obviously other reasons come into play). It is something an addict feels he or she cannot live without or will make everything better.


This is from About.com, of all places:
The Difference Between an Addiction and a Compulsion
By Elizabeth Hartney, About.com Guide
Updated July 30, 2010
About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board

Some Simple Definitions

Addiction is a broad term, which is used to describe an entire process by which people (or animals) become dependent on a particular substance or behavior in order to cope with life. This dependence becomes so important to the individual that they will persist in using the substance, or engaging in the behavior, even when it is harmful to themself, their family, and other important areas of their life.

In contrast, compulsion is a quite narrow term, which is used to describe the intense urge to do something. Compulsions are a small but important part of the addictive process, and are also a major part of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

So you can see that an addiction involves the compulsion to take an addictive substance (such as alcohol or heroin) or to carry out an addictive behavior (such as gambling or sex), but it also involves other processes.

Key Differences
Pleasure
One major distinction between an addiction and a compulsion (as it is experienced in obsessive-compulsive disorder) is the experience of pleasure. While people who have addictions suffer all manner of discomforts, the desire to use the substance or engage in the behavior is based on the expectation that it will be pleasurable.

In contrast, someone who experiences a compulsion as part of obsessive-compulsive disorder may not get any pleasure from the behavior he carries out. Often, it is a way of dealing with the obsessive part of the disorder, resulting in a feeling of relief.

This can get a little confusing because there often comes a point for people with addictions where they don’t really enjoy the addictive behavior, and they are just seeking relief from the urge to use or engage in the behavior. This is compounded by the experience of withdrawal that often happens when they stop taking the substance or engaging in the behavior. Although this can look like obsessive-compulsive behavior because the pleasure is gone, the original motivation to engage in the behavior was to feel good.
Reality
Another major distinction between an addiction and a compulsion has to do with the individual’s awareness of reality. When people have obsessive-compulsive disorder, they are usually aware that their obsession is not real. They are often disturbed by feeling the need to carry out a behavior that defies logic, yet they do it anyway to relieve their anxiety.

In contrast, people with addictions are often quite detached from the senselessness of their actions, feeling that they are just having a good time, and that other concerns aren’t that important. This is often known as denial because the addicted person denies that his use or behavior is a problem. Often it is not until a major consequence such as a spouse leaving, a drunk-driving accident, or a job loss, that they are faced with the reality of their addiction.

Why All the Confusion?

Addiction and compulsion are both terms that have entered our everyday language. And like many words that are in common use, they may be misused and misunderstood. This causes confusion for everyone, especially those suffering from addictions and compulsions, but also for professionals trying to help. Often, people use these terms interchangeably without thinking about the distinctions between them.

There are several reasons that the word “compulsion” started to be used in relation to addictive behaviors. Originally, the term compulsion stemmed from the idea of addicts accessing the erotic pleasure centers of the brain. Later, the term “compulsion” was used in place of “addiction” in the hope that it would add legitimacy to the treatment of addiction, and make it more likely that treatment would be covered by insurers.

These days, the biggest controversy in the field of addictions is whether behavioral addictions are legitimate addictions like substance addictions. Another term, dependence, is used in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to refer to alcohol and drug addictions, and compulsive gambling is the only behavioral addiction specifically included in the manual. As we near the publication of the next edition, expected in May 2012, work is being done to consider inclusion and unification of the various addictions.

Sources:

American Psychiatric Association. "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., text revision" 2000 Washington, DC: APA.

Carnes, P. "Addiction or Compulsion? Politics or Illness?" Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 3:127-150. 1996.

Kelly, O. "Symptoms of OCD? OCD is an Anxiety Disorder." About.com 19 Jan 2009.
That came from http://addictions.about.com/od/howad...compulsion.htm

If I look at that and then compare it with how I see the two, I would say that I kind of see a compulsion as being about doing, and an addiction as being about having. Even if it's sex, it's something an addict feels they must have. Whereas a compulsion is more about the mechanics of the activity. This is all just coming from rummaging around my noggin, so I hope I'm making sense.
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Last edited by nycindie; 07-04-2011 at 11:33 PM.
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  #25  
Old 07-04-2011, 11:54 PM
serialmonogamist serialmonogamist is offline
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That is a really useful contribution to this thread, nycindie. Thanks. I wonder if it is necessary to treat addiction as mutually exclusive with obsession/compulsion. Why can't addiction sometimes involve compulsive behavior and cause obsession, for example? I don't think it would make as much sense to say that compulsions become addictive because they're not a pleasurable experience that you would seek out. I think obsession could lead to addiction, but only because someone became obsessed with something to the point it became very pleasurable to them to get it, e.g. if you were obsessed with prostitution to the point you began indulging in sex with prostitutes, you could become that much more addicted to prostitution-sex because of the pleasure you derive from it based on being obsessed with it. Does that make sense?
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  #26  
Old 07-05-2011, 03:13 AM
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Compel, compulsion, compulsive = all describe actions, coming from that doing state, a verb.

Addict, addiction, addictive = nouns and an adjective, describing a state of being.

Different energies to these distinctions.

Now, you mentioned being obsessed. Obsession is something else again. Another active state - to obsess and have an obsession, an object of intense focus and/or objectification, etc. Interesting how they all relate.

Oh, and indulgence - something else again!
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Last edited by nycindie; 07-05-2011 at 03:16 AM.
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  #27  
Old 07-05-2011, 03:28 AM
serialmonogamist serialmonogamist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Compel, compulsion, compulsive = all describe actions, coming from that doing state, a verb.

Addict, addiction, addictive = nouns and an adjective, describing a state of being.

Different energies to these distinctions.

Now, you mentioned being obsessed. Obsession is something else again. Another active state - to obsess and have an obsession, an object of intense focus and/or objectification, etc. Interesting how they all relate.

Oh, and indulgence - something else again!
I started to indulge your exploration of the vocabulary by looking up the etymology of the Latin roots, but I decided they don't shed that much light on the discussion.

I like your application of the active/passive distiction, though, and the sensitivity that the words carry different energies. Compulsion is abrupt and occurs as an instance of urgency. Addiction is a pattern, a habit, something that sneaks up on you and you don't realize it until you attempt to break the habit or someone else notices that you are out of control. Obsession doesn't seem abrupt, imo, but it could occur quickly and possibly fade as quickly, idk. You could also be addicted to obsessing about something, I think. You could also compulsively obsess, I think. The common theme with it all is that you're not able to calmly choose whether you want something or not. You are driven against your conscious will, although I think in the case of addiction you choose consciously to pursue something you're unconsciously drawn to by your addiction. Maybe you could obsess about something because you're addicted to it. They all overlap, don't they?
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  #28  
Old 07-05-2011, 12:57 PM
Minxxa Minxxa is offline
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I had no intention of pulling rank. I was trying to clarify the difference in usage between say my daughter telling me she's addicted to Ben & Jerrys and someone who has compulsive sexual behavior due to meth usage.

Thanks for that article NYC. There definitely is lots of debate about the topic mostly because so many people hear "sex addiction" and put a label on themselves or their spouse and then go to the sex therapist to get "fixed". The problem with that is they then expect a quick easy fix and most likely there is a lot going on in the person and the relationship causing issues. Actual work has to be done.

As far as I know there won be an addition in the new DSM. (last I heard) there is just too much disagreement in the community. It seems a shamed that after finally removing homosexuality from the DSM in the 1970s we now want to put in hypersexuality so we can make too much sex diagnosable. And how much would too much be?

I did want to also mention that sometimes with OCD they don't do the behavior to get pleasure. They experience high levels of anxiety which build until they do the behavior so it's more of an anxiety reducing issue.

And like drugs and alcohol people can use sex to numb out from the bad feelings or anxiety or also because that is how they feel connected and without it they feel completely disconnected.

Many different issues!

A lot of people see it differently of course.
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  #29  
Old 07-05-2011, 05:07 PM
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Proposed revision:

http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevision...n.aspx?rid=415

Hypersexual Disorder [14]

A. Over a period of at least six months, recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges, and sexual behavior in association with four or more of the following five criteria:

(1) Excessive time is consumed by sexual fantasies and urges, and by planning for and engaging in sexual behavior. [15]

(2) Repetitively engaging in these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to dysphoric mood states (e.g., anxiety, depression, boredom, irritability). [16]

(3) Repetitively engaging in sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior in response to stressful life events. [17]

(4) Repetitive but unsuccessful efforts to control or significantly reduce these sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior. [18]

(5) Repetitively engaging in sexual behavior while disregarding the risk for physical or emotional harm to self or others. [19]

B. There is 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. [20]

C. These sexual fantasies, urges, and behavior are not due to direct physiological effects of exogenous substances (e.g., drugs of abuse or medications) or to Manic Episodes. [21]

D. The person is at least 18 years of age.

Specify if: [22]

Masturbation

Pornography

Sexual Behavior With Consenting Adults

Cybersex

Telephone Sex

Strip Clubs
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  #30  
Old 07-06-2011, 02:22 AM
serialmonogamist serialmonogamist is offline
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It seems like the responses in this thread are geared toward defining the issue in a way that demonizes some people as fitting the criteria and absolves others because they don't. I don't see what is so important about differentiating a teenager "addicted" to ice cream from a meth addict addicted to sex. Sure, one seems more extreme from a cultural perspective, but the interesting thing to me about analyzing such things in a scientific way is that you can cut through the bias and look straight at the issues. E.g. can a person walk away from ice cream without withdrawal symptoms and can they walk away from sexual habits as easily, and if not why and is that a problem? If it is a problem, what can and/or should be done about it? I'm sorry if I don't care as much about the DSM as some other people might. To me, it is a resource for institutional behavioral police. I am more interested in the fundamental philosophy of it with the ultimate goal of people thinking for themselves and policing themselves. I'm not saying there's nothing beneficial about DSM-based interventions. There may indeed be. I'm just not thinking on that level. I'm more interested in getting beyond the buzz of the buzzwords to think about the depth of these issues.
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