Compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD) will be included in ICD-11 as an impulse-control disorder. CSBD also shares clinical features with obsessive–compulsive spectrum disorders (OCSDs) and behavioral addictions. There has been relatively little systematic investigation of CSBD in obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), the paradigmatic compulsive disorder. We aimed to determine prevalence of CSBD in OCD, and its associated sociodemographic and clinical features, including associated comorbidity, to learn more about the nature of CSBD.
Adult outpatients with current OCD (N = 539) participated in this study. The Structured Clinical Interview for OCSDs was used to diagnose OCSDs (Tourette’s syndrome, compulsive shopping, pathological gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, intermittent explosive disorder, self-injurious behavior, and CSBD). Prevalence rates of OCSDs in male versus female patients as well as comorbid disorders in OCD patients with and without CSBD were compared.
Lifetime prevalence of CSBD was 5.6% in patients with current OCD and significantly higher in men than women. OCD patients with and without CSBD were similar in terms of age, age of onset of OCD, present OCD illness severity, as well as educational background. Lifetime prevalence rates of several mood, obsessive–compulsive, and impulse-control disorders were considerably elevated in patients with lifetime CSBD.
Discussion and conclusions
A substantive number of OCD patients suffered from CSBD. CSBD in OCD was more likely comorbid with other mood, obsessive–compulsive, and impulse-control disorders, but not with disorders due to substance use or addictive behaviors. This finding supports conceptualization of CSBD as a compulsive–impulsive disorder.
Writing in this journal, Brand and colleagues have proposed criteria for other specified disorders due to addictive behaviors. Their proposal intersects with key debates in philosophy of psychiatry, including how best to define mental disorders, to validate them, and to optimize their meta-structure. Review of these debates in the context of behavioral addictions suggests several conclusions. First, these debates involve “essentially contested” constructs that require ongoing consideration and judgment. Second, the complexity of psychopathology suggests multiple legitimate approaches to delineating traits and explicating mechanisms. Third, in optimizing meta-structure, non-psychobiological considerations are crucial - the overlapping public mental health approach to addictive disorders is paramount.