Hypersexuality is linked to anxiety and mood disorders, and doctors need to check for it, says a study conducted by the LTMG Sion hospital’s psychiatric department.
In a first-of-its-kind study in this part of the world, the department sampled 93 patients who had come to its outpatient department and diagnosed initially for anxiety and mood disorders like depression.
Dr Gurvinder Kalra, associate professor who was part of the study, said, “When a patient comes to us with anxiety and depression, it is assumed that he/she will have a low sex drive. The hypersexuality angle is never probed. The study shows that for a better diagnosis, it’s important.”
Sion hospital doctors said, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has proposed to include hypersexuality as a new category in the latest edition of diagnostic and statistical manual of May 2013. At present, psychiatric patients with hypersexual behaviour are treated under the sexual disorder category. This is what led to the Sion hospital study.
However, senior psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty said, “Hypersexuality is seen in manic disorders. Mumbai is witnessing an epidemic of sexual problems related to impotence because of stress and anxiety. A single finding such as this needs to be rigorously tested before coming to a conclusion.”
“APA is an organisation that would not mind classifying the entire race for problems. A lot of it has come under criticism,” he added.
Dr Nilesh Shah, head of the psychiatric department at Sion hospital and Dr Deepa Nair were also a part of the study.
Random patients in the age group of 18-40 were picked. The parameters were masturbation, consensual sex with adults, cyber sex, pornography and telephone sex. Those sampled were undergoing treatment for anxiety and mood disorders, like depression.
“When we specifically asked questions related to hypersexuality, we found that 25% scored high in hypersexual behaviour. Normally, a person in depression is assumed to have instinctual drives such as less sleep, low appetite and low sex drive,” said Dr Ami Shah, psychiatrist who was part of the study.
She added that the study shows that the hypersexual behaviour could be just to cope with the depression.
“We had a case study of a 28-year-old man who was undergoing treatment for depression. On probing for hypersexuality we found that he was bisexual and had a high score in hypersexuality. He kept on fantasising at work and thought about sex which was affecting his daily life. He had consensual sex with men and women. We treated him accordingly, and now, when we checked him last week, his hypersexuality had reduced; he was quite normal,” said Shah.
According to the study results, the most common sexual behaviour in patients who were positive for hypersexual disorder was consensual sex with adults. When assessing the severity of their hypersexual behaviour in the last two weeks at a given point, most patients fell in the ‘mild to moderate’ category.