Hypersexuality As a Neuropsychiatric Disorder: The Neurobiology and Treatment Options (E-pub Ahead of Print)
Nurul Hazwani Hatta,
Hypersexuality refers to abnormally increased or extreme involvement in any sexual activity. It is clinically challenging, presents trans-diagnostically and there is extensive medical literature addressing
nosology, pathogenesis and neuropsychiatric aspects. Classification
includes deviant behaviours, diagnosable entities related to impulsivity, and obsessional phenomena. Some clinicians view an increase in sexual desire as ‘normal’ while psychodynamic theorists consider it ego-defensive at times alleviating unconscious anxiety rooted in intrapsychic conflicts. We highlight the hypersexuality as multi-dimensional involving an increase in sexual activity that is associated with distress and functional impairment.
The aetiology of hypersexuality is multi-factorial with differential diagnoses that include major psychiatric disorders (e.g. bipolar disorder), adverse effects of treatments (e.g. levodopa-treatment), substance-induced disorders (e.g. amphetamine substance use), neuropathological disorders (e.g. frontal lobe syndrome), among others. Numerous neurotransmitters are implicated in its pathogenesis, with dopamine and noradrenaline playing a crucial role in the neural reward pathways and emotionally-regulated limbic system neural circuits. The management of hypersexuality is determined by the principle of de causa effectu evanescent, if the causes are treated, the effect may disappear. We aim to review the role of pharmacological agents causing hypersexuality and centrally acting agents treating the associated underlying medical conditions. Bio-psycho-social determinants are pivotal in embracing the understanding and guiding management of this complex and multi-determined clinical syndrome.
Keywords: Hypersexuality, normality, neuropsychiatry, bio psychological treatment.
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