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Courtly Love in Dante’s The Divine Comedy (Part 3)

June 15th, 2010 Comments off

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370). This idea of repentance is the first step towards salvation; however, he still does not understand fully what Beatrice is getting at. This scene of understanding is aided by another pair of scenes from The Divine Comedy. The first occurs when the Pilgrim is in Hell and encounters those who committed suicide. Here the man he meets tells of his suffering: “My mind, moved by scornful satisfaction, believing death would free me from all scorn, made me unjust to me, who was all just” (p. 70). Here the man is describing how he committed suicide to save himself from his punishments. For his crime against himself, he ended up in Hell. The second is when the Pilgrim first reaches Purgatory, he encounters another man, Cato, who reveals his story of suicide: “You know, you found death sweet in Utica for freedom’s sake” (p. 198). Here, Virgil is describing how Cato took his own life instead of becoming a slave of Caesar’s. This illustrates the idea of free will. The first man is in Hell because he killed himself in order to escape his sins, while Cato killed himself in order to not be oppressed. This idea of motive is what lead one to Hell and the other to Purgatory. This same idea applies to Dante and Beatrice. The love that Dante has for Beatrice was bad on Earth because it was only courtly love; however, Beatrice leads him “toward that Good beyond which naught exists to which a man’s heart may aspire” (p. 370). This is what both the Pilgrim and the Author understand. They understand that courtly love is wrong, and that there is a need to attain this higher love, which is described at the end: “I felt my will and my desire impelled by the Love that moves the sun and the other stars” (p. 585). Dante the Pilgrim is not going to Hell because he repented for courtly loving Beatrice, and further used her as a guide to find this higher love. By first repenting, and then by understanding, Dante (both the Pilgrim and the Author at this point) realizes the truth, and therefore attains salvation.

Through Dante the Pilgrim’s journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, he develops an understanding of the proper way to love. When he first beings his journey, he believes that courtly love is a just love. But once he encounters Francesca de Rimini in Hell, he starts to realize it may not be the correct love. Dante the Author also tries to show this point as well. Once The Pilgrim reaches Beatrice, however, his ideals of love are corrected and he repents for his past thoughts. Here is when The Author’s ideals are revealed: courtly love is wrong, and divine love is correct. The Pilgrim understands courtly love is wrong with Beatrice, and finally understands divine love at his final meeting with God. Therefore, Dante Alighieri views courtly love as a sin, and divine love as salvation.

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Summary of Milward’s “The Economic Effects of the Two World Wars on Great Britain” and Cooley & Ohanian’s “Postwar British Economic Growth and the Legacy of Keynes”

June 7th, 2010 Comments off

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As early as the mid 1700’s, the British led the world in economic mass production. Britain had truly been the “workshop of the world,” and was the dominant economic figure of its time. However, starting with the First World War, many changes occurred in the British economy. The wars required the full effort of the production of the nation, and mobilized its manufacturing resources to provide for the war effort. This situation provides an interesting case of the dramatic effects of a nation’s economy becoming engulfed in war. Studying this case can lend insight into the effects of war on the international balance of trade, and also on a localized level.

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Economic change began with the First World War, continued through the second, and had lasting effects in the post-war era. Alan S. Milward details the changes during WWI and WWII in The Economic Effects of the Two World Wars on Britain. His book describes in detail the particular domestic and international impacts relating to the economic status of the UK. Thomas F. Cooley and Lee E. Ohanian investigate these impacts during the years after WWII in Postwar British Economic Growth and the Legacy of Keynes. They pay particular attention to the way the British government handled finance during and following the Second World War, and discover the lasting effects of its efforts. The two works complement each other, with Milward’s book and Cooley’s article providing an encompassing view of the large changes from these wars that affected Britain for a large portion of a century. They show that the wars caused Britain’s decline from international trade, while simultaneously economic status of the lower and working classes.

Milward argues that the two world wars caused numerous economic and social changes in Britain, most importantly Britain’s decline from status as the primary manufacturing exporter of the world, reform in social health services, and changes in income distribution. He formats his work in an extended essay structure, first addressing the importance of the changing interpretation of the history of the topic, and then discussing the separate domestic and international economic impacts of the war. His methodology is sound, calling on primary research by numerous individuals, and citing hard numerical data to support his claims.

Milward shows in the work that income distribution was changed in two distinct ways. First was the dramatic increase in income for agricultural workers in Britain. Efforts by German blockades in WWI forced the British government to incentivize increased crop production, causing 3 million additional acres of arable farmland at a time when the crops produced there were in high demand. This in turn caused a greater volume of domestic foods to be sold at higher prices, putting more money in the pockets of farmers. World War Two also saw an increase in their earnings. By the time of WWII, a law passed guaranteeing a minimum wage for agricultural workers, allowing their income to increase seven and a half times between 1938 and 1949.

The second change in income distribution was a result of rapid factory mechanization. Starting in WWI, unskilled laborers saw a constant improvement in their earning power. They saw higher employment levels and greater regularity and formality of employment. Additionally, the unskilled replaced the former jobs of many semi-skilled workers. These factors contributed to a reduction the income gap between working class individuals and the middle classes.

Milward points out the lasting effects of social health service reforms. Most interestingly was the WWI’s impact on the formation of Britain’s National Health Service. The increased levels of organization in the country due to the war prompted inquiry into the “ill-organized public effort” of medicine. He makes an interesting point that this lasting change allowed by a brief shift in political power brought about by the changing economic conditions of the war. In this way, a tremendous social impact was created due to the unique conditions of the war.

Perhaps the most important economic impact of the wars was Britain’s decline from the role of the world’s chief manufacturing center. WWII in particular caused a great change in the pattern of trade worldwide. Britain’s earlier economic powerhouse had relied on its ability to “continue to earn even in wartime conditions the wherewithal to pay for the imports which sustained its economy,” requiring the island to continue to export goods as well. The great draw on manpower for the wars meant that production effort shifted away from exports and trade in order to provide supplies. Decreases in foreign investment and pressure from German submarine attacks compounded the change. This manufacturing gap was filled by the United States, which provided manufactured war goods to Britain during both wars, and continued to provide commercial goods after the wars were over. In this way, Britain lost its foothold as the primary “workshop of the world.

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Summary of Milward’s “The Economic Effects of the Two World Wars on Great Britain” and Cooley & Ohanian’s “Postwar British Economic Growth and the Legacy of Keynes” (Part 2)

June 7th, 2010 Comments off

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Milward argues his points well, based on numerical data and the statistical research of many individuals. His sound arguments allow him to give accurate information with a clear level of detail on Britain’s economy during the two wars. Cooley, on the other hand, focuses on the time period following WWII. This war imposed a tremendous financial burden on Britain’ economy; Cooley investigated different possible methods to pay for it compared to the actual payment scheme used by the British government. He argues that the high tax rate Britain utilized after the war was very costly, and impeded economic performance after the war.

Cooley’s method differed greatly from that of Milward, in that it was primary research based on a mathematical model. Cooley’s method compares Britain’s economic data from the time after the war to predicted data if Britain had instituted other financial policies. He wished to investigate the potential of the tax system that had been suggested by John Maynard Keynes, which called for high tax rates immediately following the war, versus a “tax smoothing” policy that defers the costs by means of government borrowing. These are both compared against the actual policy employed, that utilized aspects of both theoretical policies.

The format of the work begins with an overview of the government’s financial situation at the time. During the 200 years preceding WWII, the British government had traditionally used the tax smoothing policy relying on heavy borrowing to pay for the wars. However, at the time, Keynes, a prominent economist, criticized government economic policy and suggested a system relying on sharp increases on taxes of capital income. This would immediately cover the cost of the war, instead of postponing it for later decades. The government ended up following much of Keynes’s advice, but not all. Nonetheless, the financing of WWII represented a striking change in public finance for Britain.

The paper then divulges the details of the mathematical model used to predict economic performance for both Keynesian and traditional financial schemes. The model is used to predict capital stocks, government spending and output, economic investment and consumption, among other factors. After giving thorough and detailed descriptions of the mathematical methods used for the research, the paper states the conclusions made by it. Cooley successfully proves his points, basing his argument off of real world data and mathematical models. He is able to objectively prove his argument based on these facts.

Cooley finds that the policy suggested by Keynes would have been dramatically more costly than the one followed by the government. Furthermore, tax-smoothing policy would have been much less costly to the British economy than the actual policy employed. However, the welfare implications of the policy followed were just as good as those for the tax-smoothing policy. The lower and working classes were not hurt by the economic policy followed. This finding agrees with Milward’s work, demonstrating that the lower classes ultimately benefitted from the wars. Despite the overall damage to the economy, the income gap was reduced, the lower and working classes ended up with a higher standard of living.

The two works provide an encompassing viewpoint on the effects the wars had on Britain’s economy. They provide a prime example of how total war can disrupt a nation’s foothold in foreign trade. Furthermore, they describe the local impact, describing the manner in which the lower classes were able to benefit from changes during these wars even while the overall economy suffers. These changes are indeed thought provoking. One is lead to question whether the United States would have gained its manufacturing economy without the gap left by Britain because of the wars. The latter half of the twentieth century may have played out very differently, had the wars not occurred. Britain may still have been a world economic leader. Additionally, one is led to wonder if similar domestic effects resulting from other wars. Even if a country is not ravaged or defeated in a war, will there be lasting social effects? Do special conditions during a war allow political changes that would otherwise not occur, such as the National Health Service? If one is to generalize the conclusions coming from Britain’s example, it seems that wars can have a far reaching impact long after they have concluded. The First and Second World Wars disrupted Britain’s economic structure, and produced lasting forces of change.

Sources:

1. Milward, A. The Economic Effects of the Two World Wars on Britain. 2nd ed. Hong Kong: Macmillan, 1984.

2. Cooley, Thomas. "Postwar British Economic Growth and the Legacy of Keynes. " The Journal of Political Economy 105 no. 3 (1997): 439-472.

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The Psychological Principles of Learning: An Overview

May 31st, 2010 No comments

Summary

This article lays out Psychological learning principles that can guide technology-enhanced teaching as well as more traditional forms of instruction. Drawn from both traditional learning theory as well as current research about how people learn, the principles integrate these findings in a helpful set of guidelines that give emphasis to issues of instructional design. The principles outlined here can serve as a guide to the design of learning experiences in both online environments and traditional campus classrooms.

Psychological Principles of Learning

 

The Principle of “Learner at the Center”

This principle offers a framework that helps reduce the complexity of the learning experience. This framework has four elements—

  • The Learner: The first element, the learner, may be an individual student (or a group of students in the case of collaborative and group learning activities).
  • The Mentor/faculty member: Provides instruction and support to the learner. The mentor/faculty member may be physically present on stage, may remain in the wings directing the learner, or may only be present implicitly by virtue of having designed the instructional event. This element may also be an inanimate learning object such as a text or video component that provides instructions and guidance from the faculty member.
  • The Knowledge: the content, or the problem that is the focus of the instructional experience. For instructional design, the knowledge component is the answer to the question, "What is the knowledge, what is the skill, what is the attitude that the instructional event is intended to facilitate in the student?"
  • The Environment: the environment is defined by the answer to the question, "When will the event take place, with whom and where and with what resources?"

Whatever be the scenario, it is the student who is at the center of the learning experience: The student is on stage, guided by the task design created by the faculty member, accessing whatever resources might be needed, and acquiring useful knowledge from the experience. This fundamental design framework serves as a context for the principles that follow.

The Environment in which the Learner Interacts

Every learning experience occurs within an environment in which the learner interacts with the content, knowledge, skill, or expert. The environment might be simple—for example, one learner with one resource at home, work, or some other community space. The environment might be complex, such as several learners with many resources in a classroom, library, media center, or café. Another type of environment might be a synchronous virtual meeting place, such as when several students collaborate online with many resources in different locations. The faculty member’s involvement and presence can vary in any of these environments.

Usage of Learning Tools

Tools make a difference in any learning environment. In previous generations, the faculty member lectured, the students took notes, and the learning process unfolded within a relatively limited and discrete environment of tools and technologies. The learning environment is considerably more complex today, including a network in which all students and faculty have access to powerful digital tools for communication and research. The first wave of laptop universities rolled out in the mid-1990s and were followed quickly by a wave of wireless and Web-enabled cell phones, and we are now in the middle of a third wave of mobile and hand-held digital tools. A learning environment in which all learners and faculty have their own personal laptop computer and other mobile tools such as iPods and PDAs transforms teaching and learning experiences. Meanwhile, students have discovered the community-building and networking power of instant messaging, discussion boards, online forums, blogs, and wikis while still occasionally using e-mail. These tools are dramatically changing the communication patterns and relationships between learners and the faculty.

Faculty are the Directors of the Learning Experience

Faculty can monitor student learning and facilitate discussions from anywhere there is a high bandwidth wireless connection. The point is not that faculty will be less involved in classes, but that these new instructional options will provide faculty with more effective ways to leverage their expertise. Using technology to encourage peer-to-peer learning enables students to make better use of the faculty member as a source of specialized guidance and feedback. Likewise, one of the more important ripple effects of a course design incorporating an instructional team is that the faculty member has more time to mentor the learning processes of students. With less time is spent on administration, more time can be spent on the formation of new thoughts and lessons.

Learners Bring Their Own Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes to the Learning Experience

The learner is an individual. In traditional classrooms instructors have typically solicited this information at the beginning of a course through in-class discussions or through informal writing assignments that ask students to discuss their personal interests, academic goals, and educational background. In turn, currently available technological tools provide instructors with a wider range of avenues for gaining this valuable information about their students. Some of the tools that are helpful for this purpose include discussion boards, student response systems, and online testing modules that assess current skill sets as well as more complex forms of knowledge.

Conclusion

We each do experience and remember events just a little differently. This richness of perspective and worldviews is both a challenge and a potent creative force. The combination of the uniqueness of each learner and the richness of each learner’s perspective argues persuasively for more emphasis on community, culture, and ethics as well as the acquisition of knowledge, content, and skills.

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The Epidemiology, Manifestations, Consequences, Treatment Options, and Diagnostic Controversy of Sexual Addiction

May 20th, 2010 Comments off

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Sexual addiction is a pattern of sexual actions and mannerisms that are acted out even though it is detrimental to the effected individual and/or to others. Interestingly, the medical community has no consensus that sexual addiction actually exists. And it is not presently included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (D. S. M. Instead, Sexual Addiction’s diagnostic criteria are parallel to those the D. S. M. provides for other addictions. This paper will define and investigate Sexual Addiction (SA), its epidemiology, manifestations and discuss the consequences of Sexual Addiction. Additionally, the Sexual Addiction cycle will be examined and the etiology and treatment options for this condition will be reviewed. Lastly, the controversy over diagnosis and diagnostic criteria will be scrutinized.

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Sexual Addiction

The term ‘compulsive sexual behavior’ has been used to describe sexual addiction; the Mayo Clinic in its Mental Health Report further explains as those suffering from condition have "an overwhelming need for sex and are so intensely preoccupied with this need that it interferes with [careers and relationships]. [One] may spend inordinate amounts of time in sexually related activities and neglect important aspects of …day-to-day life in social, occupational and recreational areas. [One] may find [him/herself] failing repeatedly at attempts to reduce or control …sexual activities or desires. "

The occurrence of sexual addiction is quite difficult to ascertain, essentially for the reason that addicts are guarded and secretive. Those in the mental health field who are proponents of including the condition in the DSM propose that it is usually seen in connection with other addictions, in addition to stress and mood disorders. On occasion, when several addictions are present (alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. SA is considered the "core" addiction.

Sexual addiction is speculated to be (but is not always) linked with Narcissistic personality disorder, manic-depression and Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In the past this condition had been thought of as an exclusively male dilemma, but current research has suggested it may also be widespread among women.

Patrick Carnes PhD. a prolific researcher on this subject outlines the following signs of sexual addiction:

1. A pattern of out-of-control sexual behavior

2. Severe consequences due to sexual behavior

3. Inability to stop despite adverse consequences

4. Persistent pursuit of self-destructive or high-risk behavior

5. Ongoing desire or effort to limit sexual behavior

6. Sexual obsession and fantasy as a primary coping strategy

7. Increasing amounts of sexual experience because the current level of activity is no longer sufficient

8. Severe mood changes around sexual activity

9. Inordinate amounts of time spent in obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from sexual experience

10. Neglect of important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of sexual behavior

The supporters of the sexual addiction concept believe that sexual addicts may derive enjoyment in frequent sexual intercourse and other sexual activities, although the primary incentive of this addiction is “more the enjoyment of the journey rather than the destination. ” This means that sexual addicts do not need “an orgasmic event” to feel that their addiction has been satisfied. Hence, they are also known as "chemical addicts". While they pursue sexually (and even romantically) stimulating activities, they basically crave the chemicals released in the brain. An example of such a brain chemical is the "feel good" neurotransmitter dopamine. These heightened levels provide them with feelings of euphoria. An orgasm (may) boost this level even higher. This chemical reaction can be compared to the use of certain illegal drugs. Methamphetamines or cocaine, for example, can also assist in the same release.

Those individuals who cope with mood issues may learn of the calming effects derived through these brain chemicals, and quickly recognize which behaviors can successfully replicate the experience. Subsequently, a “cascading effect” commences. Already susceptible with respect to ‘compulsive or obsessive behavior’, the sexual addict begins duplicating ‘rewarding’ actions that swiftly establishes a “conditioned response”. As time goes by, the regular release of these mood elevating brain chemicals into the body causes them to lose their effectiveness. This means that the addict will need to increase or intensify the compulsive behavior for the same effects to be achieved.

Another point to be noted is that the addict’s inclinations can also be observed by the rate that masturbation is used for satisfaction. Frequently, masturbation will be used to the point of personal injury or to where it notably gets in the way of everyday life. In some cases masturbatory activities can very well replace the desire for sexual interactions with others.

There are times when some sexual addicts do not feel comfortable enough to be involved with people they know, (which actually happen quite often). They then look for strangers for anonymous sex or search for ‘new love’ through infidelity. Prostitutes may be employed, both because of the anonymity and the seemingly non-judgmental readiness to engage in the unusual sexual requests that some sex addicts have.

As noted earlier, a decisive attribute of sexual addiction is it’s evidently ‘compulsive & unmanageable’ makeup. A normal person may look at an attractive person as they drive past, a sexual addict might drive around the block a number of times to stare again. In order to repeat the experience over and over they may even arrange and organize methods so they can spot attractive people.

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The Epidemiology, Manifestations, Consequences, Treatment Options, and Diagnostic Controversy of Sexual Addiction (Part 2)

May 20th, 2010 Comments off

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Addicts can squander an astonishing sum of money and time on their inclinations, completely deficient in the capability to control it. They habitually undergo a nearly ‘trance-like’ state during which their actions can go on for many hours.

Similar to other addictions, some addicts go through ‘episodic binges’ (between these binges they may well believe they are completely normal), some others may endure more of a continuous level of the crisis. There are some sexual addicts who move back and forth in opposite end of the continuum, engaging in sexual anorexia, where they repress their tendencies in a manner so that they have absolutely no sexual experiences.

This is in no way a cure for the basic compulsion nor is it an effective manner of control, but, like food addictions is plainly one more symptom of the addiction. Some sexual addicts operate in more intrusive ways or advance to them as they go through diminishing "highs" for their unusual activities. Patrick Carnes PhD. maintains that explicit activities do not identify addiction, “it is the compulsive nature of the behaviors that demonstrates addiction”. Addicts often attempt to stop, but fail. Their behavior generally conforms to a cycle:

1. Preoccupation

2. Ritualization

3. Compulsive sexual behavior

4. Despair

In order to get rid of negative feelings the addict almost immediately happens to become engrossed with sexual thoughts again, resuming the ‘addictive cycle’. Patrick Carnes theorizes that the cycle begins with the "Core Beliefs" which addicts ‘knows’ to be true. Such as; "I am basically a bad, unworthy person. " "No one would love me as I am. " "My needs are never going to be met if I have to depend on others. " "Sex is my most important need. " These attitudes impel the obsession in its advancement and eventual destructive course.

First a “pain agent” activates emotional discomfort (e. g. shame, unresolved conflict) the sex addict is incapable of dealing with the pain agent in an emotionally healthy manner. Before resorting to sexually behavior, the sex addict goes through a phase of mental obsession/preoccupation. They disassociate (moving away from his/her feelings). Thus a division starts between the mind and the emotional self. Once this ‘disconnect’ takes hold, the addict becomes pre-occupied with acting out behaviors. The reality of the situation becomes blocked out and distorted.

Preoccupation, or in other words "sexual pressure" means that the addict is consumed about being sexual or romantic. Consequently ‘fantasy’ turns into a fixation that serves to avoid life. ‘Thinking about sex and planning out’ how to reach orgasm can continue for minutes or hours before moving into the next stage of the cycle. These fixations are strengthen and reinforced through ‘ritualization’ or acting out. A sex addict may for example, go to a strip show to heighten arousal until he/she is ‘beyond the point of saying no’. This helps detach reality from sexual obsession. Once the addict is in the midst of the ritual, there is very little hope of stopping that cycle.

The subsequent stage of the cycle is sexual compulsivity or "sex act". Tensions felt by addict diminished and for the short term they feel better, due to the release that occurs. Compulsivity merely signifies that addict regularly gets a pint where sex becomes unavoidable, no matter what the consequence.

After the compulsive act there may be realization and acknowledgement that the addict has become nothing more than ‘a slave to the addiction’. And the addict launches into feelings of shame and despair. ‘The last time the Addict was at this low point, they probably promised to never do it again’.

Etiology of the condition

Although there is no singular causation of sexual addiction, studies have shown that a high percentage of sexual addicts were abused by someone during their childhood. According to Sex & Love Addiction, Treatment & Recovery 60% of sexual addicts were the victims of child abuse. Additionally, neurochemistry of an individual may predetermine the condition.

There is also a relationship between depression, anxiety, OCD, and Attention Disorders to Sexual Addiction. The progression of a SA theoretically begins early in life through adolescent experimentation and self-stimulation, or premature introduction to pornography and other sexual stimulants. Social conditioning, imprinting and developmental impairments may also be factors.

Sex becomes a dominant, exhilarating fascination very early on and the addiction increases. Others may start later in life—during graduate school, divorce, or when anxiety and nervous tension become so acute that an escape is needed. It turns into an effective form of self-medication, and another way to cope with the demands of life.

Consequences of Sexual Addiction

There are many consequences which result from sexual addiction. This includes the ‘social cost’; sexual preoccupation can lead to loss of friendship and family relationships. Anxiety and stress are a general theme in the lives of sex addicts, as they live with the ‘constant fear of discovery’.

Guilt and shame are also commonplace, as the addict’s lifestyle is mostly at odds with personal values and beliefs. Compulsive sexual thoughts and/or behavior leads to ‘severe depression, often with suicidal ideation, low self-esteem, shame, self-hatred, hopelessness, despair, helplessness, intense anxiety, loneliness, resentment, self pity, self blame ,moral conflict, fear of abandonment, spiritual bankruptcy, distorted thinking, remorse, and self-deceit’.

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The Epidemiology, Manifestations, Consequences, Treatment Options, and Diagnostic Controversy of Sexual Addiction (Part 3)

May 20th, 2010 Comments off

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The sexual addict who is in a marriage or committed relationship will find that his/her behavior and activities outside the primary relationship can result in loss of self-esteem to himself/herself as well as their partner. Besides severe stress to the relationship, parenting and bonds with children may also be detrimentally affected.

With increased high risk activities, Sex addicts may place themselves in situations of potential harm, which may even result in death. Many diseases may occur due to sexual addiction; these include but are not limited to genital injury, cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS, herpes, genital warts and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Sexual addiction can result in violation of the law, in cases such as sexual harassment, obscene phone calls, voyeurism, prostitution, rape, obscene phone calls, exhibitionism, incest and child molestation. There is also a related chance of loss of professional status and professional licensure, they may go to jail, get sued, or incur other financial and legal consequences because of their behavior.

There are also financial consequences, as debts may arise from the cost of prostitutes, cyber/phone sex and multiple affairs. Moreover, there are indirect costs associated with legal fees, the cost of divorce or separation, and decreased productivity or job loss.

Assessment and treatment

An assortment of surveys and examinations have been created in an effort to assess sexual addiction, but a small number of, if any have been officially evaluated, or verified to be correct. Advocators of the concept of the sexual addiction consider the cycle and the associated beliefs clearly exemplify the sexual addict.

Patrick Carnes PhD puts forward a fundamental test in order to deduce if a specific sexual behavior has become addictive:

  1. It is a secret.
  2. It is abusive or degrading to self or others.
  3. It is used to avoid (or is a source of) painful feelings.
  4. It is empty of a caring, committed relationship.

A copy of an actual test designed by Patrick Carnes is included towards the end of this report (figure 1)

In contrast with the aims in treatment of other forms of dependency (such as drug or alcohol), the therapeutic objective in sexual addiction is abstinence only from compulsive behavior with the goal and adaptation of a healthy sexuality. Most SA treatment programs recommend that patients refrain from all sexual activities (including masturbation) for 30 to 90 days to make it clear that life without sex is possible. It has been noted that when some sexual addicts stop all sexual activity, they report withdrawal symptoms akin to those encountered by cocaine addicts.

It is crucial that the Addict’s partner (if he/she has a significant other) be involved with the treatment program. In fact, the Mental Health Report by the Mayo Clinic categorically states that the most important predictor of relapse after treatment of sexual addiction is failure of the spouse to be involved in the treatment program.

The conduct of sex addicts has intense effects on partners, children and other family. The addict is typically ‘partially or totally unaware’ that they have affected those close to them. Families in turn cultivate detrimental coping skills as they make every effort to acclimatize to the addict’s irregular moods behavior. Hence, friends and families will often need to be involved in the recovery process.

Recovery is a course that works when there is:

  1. Acceptance of the disease and its consequences.
  2. Commitment to change.
  3. Surrender of the need to control the compulsion.
  4. Willingness to learn from others in recovery in sexual addiction Twelve Step support groups, and from trained therapists.

Due to the fact that most sex addicts were often sexually abused as children, they may have distorted ideas about sex and they usually require information about healthy sexuality. Therapists may need to work with early trauma and provide reassurance during treatment. Shame, a chief concern for sex addicts, is best addressed in group therapy; moreover, other recovering addicts can provide both support and confrontation. Group support can be an influential tool for overcoming the shame that most sex addicts feel.

The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous have been adapted for use in many programs which deal with addictions. A program designed for sexual addiction can be particularly helpful in the recovery process. It is also noted that by the time sex addicts seek help, ‘their marriage or relationship is often in great distress’. The lack of communication, growing distrust, resentment and anger are common in such situations. A therapist can be of great help during recovery. Nevertheless SA, as with other addictions, cannot be "cured" and there might be the risk of a relapse. To overcome this, sex addicts must be trained to stay away from certain people and situations that can ‘trigger old urges and behaviors’.

Though, not empirically proven, some mental health providers say that some patients benefit from specific drugs, such as fluoxetine hydrochloride (Prozac) and domipramine hydrochloride (Anafranil).

Controversy over Diagnosis and Diagnostic Criteria

Those in the mental health field specializing in sexual behavior normally have the same opinion on what represents ‘out-of-control sexual behavior’, but they disagree over whether it is correctly identify as an ‘addiction’ or as an indicator of an essential obsessive-compulsive disorder, which can result in sexual obsessions.

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The Epidemiology, Manifestations, Consequences, Treatment Options, and Diagnostic Controversy of Sexual Addiction (Part 4)

May 20th, 2010 Comments off

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Many people and professional associations do not recognize SA as a legitimate form of addiction. One argument is based on whether the expression has any accurate connotation for describing human sexual behavior.

Some others see sexual addiction as an excuse for wanton behavior. Other characteristics or symptoms of this supposed condition are not easy to diagnose in a scientific manner, for example the primary difference between promiscuity and sexual addiction is essentially the motivation behind the act.

Other scientists interpret of sexual addiction ‘as a compulsion, an impulse control disorder, a sexual desire disorder, a lack of morals and willpower, or a form of obsessive compulsive disorder. ’ Proponents of the sexual addiction concept frequently liken it to food or gambling addiction, “where an outside substance isn’t used to create the high. ”

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has not yet identified SA as a mental illness, but, the APA has classifications that are useful for grasping sexual behavior disorders. These disorders are called paraphilias. And include: “pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, sexual etc. ” All of these are typified by “recurrent, intense, sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges or behaviors” which involve:- non-human objects; the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner, children or other nonconsenting persons; and clinically significant distress in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning caused by the behavior, sexual urges or fantasies.

It is vital to keep in mind that just because a person takes part in certain sexual behaviors, it does not mean they need to be labeled a sexual addict. The main feature in figuring out if a person is an addict is if that person’s behavior is compulsive. Case in point, a person sporadically looking at pornography is not automatically a sexual addict. However, a person who spends 13 hours a day, and gets fired because of extreme pornography use is most likely a sex addict. Another issue in determining sexual addiction is if the behaviors are used to ‘self-medicate’ and ‘escape reality’.

Even without the consensus within the field of the mental health community, Sexual addiction manifests in addicts as they attempt to ‘medicate their feelings’ and/or ‘cope with their stresses’ so that their sexual behavior becomes the most important coping mechanism in their life.

 

Sexual addiction screening test *

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  1. Were you sexually abused as a child or adolescent?
  2. Have you subscribed to or regularly purchased sexually explicit magazines?
  3. Did your parents have trouble with sexual behavior?
  4. Do you often find yourself preoccupied with sexual thoughts?
  5. Do you feel that your sexual behavior is not normal?
  6. Does your spouse (or significant other) ever worry or complain about your sexual behavior?
  7. Do you have trouble stopping your sexual behavior when you know it is inappropriate?
  8. Do you ever feel bad about your sexual behavior?
  9. Has your sexual behavior ever created problems for you or your family?
  10. Have you ever sought help for sexual behavior that you did not like?
  11. Have you ever worried about people finding out about Your sexual activities?
  12. Has anyone been hurt emotionally because of your sexual behavior?
  13. Are any of your sexual activities against the law?

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  1. Have you made promises to yourself to quit some aspect of your sexual behavior?
  2. Have you made efforts to quit a type of sexual behavior and failed?
  3. Do you have to hide some aspects of your sexual behavior from others?
  4. Have you attempted to stop some parts of your sexual activities?
  5. Have you ever felt degraded by your sexual behavior?
  6. Has sex been a way for you to escape your Problems?
  7. When you have sex, do you feel depressed afterward?
  8. Have you felt the need to discontinue a certain form of sexual activity?
  9. Has your sexual activity interfered with your family life?
  10. Have you been sexual with minors?
  11. Do you feel controlled by yoursexual desire?
  12. Do you ever-think that your sexual desire is stronger than you are?
 

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* Affirmative answers to 13 questions strongly suggest addiction.

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The Epidemiology, Manifestations, Consequences, Treatment Options, and Diagnostic Controversy of Sexual Addiction (Part 5)

May 20th, 2010 Comments off

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References

Carnes PJ. Don’t call it love: recovery from sexual addiction. New York: Bantam Books, 1991 42-4

Carnes P. Out of the shadows: understanding sexual addiction. Minneapolis: CompCare Publishers, 1983

Mayo Clinic staff (September 29, 2005). Compulsive sexual behavior. Mental Health Center. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on 2007-03-11.

Book, Praeger. (1997). Sex & Love Addiction, Treatment & Recovery. New York: Lucerne Publishing.

Bird. M Sexual Addiction And Marriage And Family Therapy: Facilitating Individual And Relationship Healing Through Couple Therapy,. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy. Upland: Jul 2006. Vol. 32, Iss. 3; pg. 297, 13 pgs

Coleman E. The obsessive-compulsive model for describing compulsive sexual behavior. Am J Prev Psychiatr Neurol 1990;2(3):9-14

Vukadinovic Z. Sexual Addiction, Sexual Compulsivity, Sexual Impulsivity, or What? Toward a Theoretical Model The Journal of Sex Research. New York: Aug 2004. Vol. 41, Iss. 3; pg. 225, 10 pgs

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The Adolescent Psychopathology Scale – Short Form

May 20th, 2010 Comments off

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The Adolescent Psychopathology Scale was the basis for the Adolescent Psychopathology Scale- Short form. The author of the concept, William M. Reynolds, PhD. developed the scale to assess the indicators of Psychological disorders in adolescents in a manner which is correlated with DSM-IV stipulations. The purpose of this paper is provide a critical review of the literature related to the use of the specific psychological instrument known as the Adolescent Psychopathology Scale- Short form.

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Purpose of the Adolescent Psychopathology Scale- Short form

The Adolescent Psychopathology Scale- Short form was developed in 1998 and is made up of 12 clinical scales and 2 validity scales. Half of the APS-SF clinical scales are directed towards specific indicators covered in the DSM-IV. These particular scales were intended to model critical DSM-IV symptoms related with these disorders: General Anxiety Disorder, Conduct disorder, Major Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Substance Abuse Disorder.

The other six APS-SF clinical scales are not associated with specific DSM IV disorders; however, they do assess significant spheres of adolescent psychosocial issues. Defensiveness and Consistency are the two validity scales which look at characteristics of response validity.

All in all the APS-SF was intended to be a short, dependable and legitimate measure of a number of psychopathological and psychological problems pertinent to the mental adjustment of adolescents.

The Adolescent Psychopathology Scale- Short form Clinical Scales

The APS-SF clinical scales, as mentioned above, include the Conduct Disorder Scale (CND). 15 items appraise a number of antisocial behaviors such as lying, fighting, stealing, cruelty to animals, destruction of property, use of a weapon in a fight, fire setting, refusal to abide by rules at home and at school, issues with police and other problems dealing with behavior. The past six months is the timeline for which the symptoms are considered as to be present or absent.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (OPD) is another scale. Nine items appraise a negative-contrary behavior, hostility and defiant actions & activities. Symptoms are evaluated as to the incidence of occurrence during the past six months. Substance Abuse Disorder (SUB) includes nine items detailed to a substance, Such as alcohol, cannabis, cocaine etc. And in such are gauged as to the rate of use over the past 6 months. Anger/Violence Proneness (AVP) is covered by 14 items that contend with comprehensive anger and violence against others. Symptoms are evaluated as to ‘presence or absence’ and rate of incidence through out the duration of a set number of time intervals. Academic Problems (ADP) assess a wide spectrum of issues dealing with academic obstacles in school. Nine items appraise ADP; once again symptoms are evaluated as to the incidence of occurrence during the past six months. As is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which is made up of 11 items that measure the broad level of anxiety severity.

The 11 items which make up the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTS) consider the symptomology associated with negative or traumatic events. Most of the PTS items are evaluated on the basis of the presence/absence or rate of occurrence during the last six months. Major Depression (DEP) is another scale which includes 14 items that measures symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder. Symptoms are appraised as to the rate of occurrence during the past two weeks.

The Eating Disturbance (EAT) scale evaluates symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa, the five items within this scale deal with secretive eating, excessive eating, and purging over the past three months. The Suicide Scale (SUI) comprises of 6 items which contends with suicidal behavior and ideation. This scale examines behaviors varying from mild suicide ideation to more somber beliefs of killing oneself.

Additionally, the Self-Concept (SCP) scale is made up of nine items that take stock of basic outlook of self worth and self concept. Symptoms are taken into consideration during a number of time intervals. Finally the Interpersonal Problem (IPP) scale makes use of 11 items to assess interpersonal problems. These problems range from social withdrawal and social isolation to friendship problems. Symptoms are also taken into consideration during a number of time intervals.

The Adolescent Psychopathology Scale- Short form Validity Scales

When making use of the APS-SF (or any other test), the examiner would be advised to supplement validity scales with his/her own assessment of an adolescent’s test taking attitude (Reynolds, 1998). The APS-SF has two validity scales which include the Defensiveness Scale (DEF) and the Consistency Response Scale (CNR). DEF scale encompasses six items that shows a highly unlikely or overly positive action or response. In general, DEF considers the examinee’s sincerity and willingness to give truthful answers. The CNR scale contains 14 item pairs that either is contradictory in their subject matter so that like answers signify inconsistent reporting, or have analogous content so that different answers on the two items signify inconsistent reporting.

The Adolescent Psychopathology Scale- Short form Critical Items

26 items within the 115 APS-SF items are deemed critical items because of their subject matter and/or their capacity to distinguish clinical from nonclinical individuals.

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