By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Recently a murderer tried to justify his behavior as sex addiction. What he did not realize is that there is no such thing.

Some patients will go to see a doctor with this complaint. In order to bill for the visit the doctor needs to list a diagnosis. No insurance company will pay money for the diagnosis of sex addiction.

The main reason for that is related to the list of psychiatric diagnoses available. The diagnosis is not listed in the manual. Therefore, it is not officially a medical diagnosis.

The same thing is true of a psychiatrist treating such a patient. The psychiatrist cannot bill for sex addiction. It does not exist.

What does exist is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Sex obsession may not sound as fancy as sex addiction. However, that is what it is.

We see many OCD individuals that cannot stop doing whatever it is that they obsess over. The obsession builds to a peak and they then have a compulsion to do something. The activity then releases the tension that built up over the obsession.

We have all seen TV detective shows where there is a serial killer with OCD. We often hear the term “the MO (modus operandi) of the killer.” This refers to the way things are repetitively done. It often leads to the identity of the individual.

Thus the murderer with the “sex addiction” may try to use it as an excuse. However, it is little more than an OCD situation. He obsessed over the idea to the point of feeling he had to do something about it.

There were a variety of approaches he could have taken. He could have sought professional help. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective way of dealing with OCD and other anxiety disorders.

There may not be an actual thing as a sex addiction. However, support groups are available for individuals who identify that as their obsession. That was an avenue open as well.

Instead he decided that he needed to kill people. He decided that those people needed to be workers in Asian-American massage parlors.

Clearly the obsession was more than just with sex. He was also obsessed with the ethnic background of the individuals that he killed.

He may be denying that. However, subconsciously he was committing a crime related to a thought pattern that involved ethnicity.

There is certainly a need for treatment of his OCD behavior. However, that is not an excuse that he can use as a defense against what he did. Just like the serial killers on TV, there is a need to address the crime directly.

That is one of the reasons that there is no formal diagnosis of sex addiction. It cannot be used as an excuse for inappropriate sexual behavior if it does not exist.

COVID-19 Update

The new case rate has continued about the same both nationally and locally. For the last seven days, there were 443,000 cases nationally. The previous seven-day period had 441,000. It doesn’t get much closer than that.

Nationally 16 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. Delaware is at 15 percent. Nationally 28 percent of the population has had at least one dose. Delaware is at 29 percent.

One of the measurements that is important to show success of getting the virus under control is the death rate.

For months the U.S. had the 7th or 8th highest death rate in the world. Over the last few weeks the death rate has slowed down enough for some other countries to move ahead of us.

We now stand at the 11th highest death rate in the world.

That still puts us at the lowest 5 percent of the 200 or so countries in the world. So it is nothing to brag about. However, it suggests that we are slowly heading in the right direction.

The most likely reason for that is that we have targeted vaccinating high-risk groups. They are the ones who usually die from COVID-19. If that no longer happens because of the vaccine, the mortality rate begins to decrease.

Vaccine hesitancy is becoming more defined. About half of rural individuals and half of Republicans under age 50 are hesitant to get the vaccine.

The virus doesn’t really care about where you live, what your age is and what your political affiliation is.

If it could think, it would be laughing at these statistics.

The virus would say: “That’s right don’t get the vaccine. I need unvaccinated people to prevent herd immunity. That way I can keep them wearing masks forever.”