Characteristics of Paraphilic Disorders
Most people with atypical sexual interests do not have a mental disorder. To be diagnosed with a paraphilic disorder, DSM-5 requires that people with these interests:
• feel personal distress about their interest, not merely distress resulting from society’s disapproval; or
• have a sexual desire or behavior that involves another person’s psychological distress, injury, or death, or a desire for sexual behaviors involving unwilling persons or persons unable to give legal consent.
To further define the line between an atypical sexual interest and disorder, the Work Group revised the names of these disorders to differentiate between the behavior itself and the disorder stemming from that behavior (i.e., Sexual Masochism in DSM-IV will be titled Sexual Masochism Disorder in DSM-5).
It is a subtle but crucial difference that makes it possible for an individual to engage in consensual atypical sexual behavior without inappropriately being labeled with a mental disorder. With this revision, DSM-5 clearly distinguishes between atypical sexual interests and mental disorders involving these desires or behaviors.
The chapter on paraphilic disorders includes eight conditions: exhibitionistic disorder, fetishistic disorder, frotteuristic disorder, pedophilic disorder, sexual masochism disorder, sexual sadism disorder, transvestic disorder, and voyeuristic disorder.
DSM is the manual used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) will publish DSM-5 in 2013, culminating a 14-year revision process. For more information, go to www.DSM5.org
APA is a national medical specialty society whose more than 36,000 physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses, including substance use disorders. Visit the APA at www.psychiatry.org. For more information, please contact Eve Herold at 703-907-8640 or firstname.lastname@example.org.