Most voyeurs do not have voyeuristic disorder.
Doctors diagnose voyeuristic disorder when people feel greatly distressed or become less able to function well because of their behavior, or they have acted on their urges with a person who has not consented.
Treatment, which usually begins after voyeurs are arrested, includes psychotherapy, support groups, and certain antidepressants.
Voyeurism is a form of paraphilia Overview of Paraphilias and Paraphilic Disorders Paraphilias are frequent, intense, sexually arousing fantasies or behaviors that involve inanimate objects, children or nonconsenting adults, or suffering or humiliation of the person or a partner... read more . Most people with voyeuristic tendencies do not have voyeuristic disorder.
In voyeurism, it is the act of observing (peeping) that is arousing, not sexual activity with the observed person. Voyeurs do not seek sexual contact with the people being observed. When voyeurs observe unsuspecting people, they may have problems with the law.
Voyeurism usually begins during adolescence or early adulthood. Some degree of voyeurism is common, more among boys and men but increasingly among women. Society often regards mild forms of this behavior as normal when involving consenting adults. Privately viewing sexually explicit pictures and shows available on the internet is not considered voyeurism because it lacks the element of secret observation, which is the hallmark of voyeurism. However, the miniaturization of surveillance cameras and the widespread use of cell phone cameras have given rise to video voyeurism, which involves the filming of nonconsenting persons disrobing or engaged in sexual activity. This activity is increasingly common and is generally considered a crime in most countries.
Voyeuristic disorder is one of the most common paraphilias and is much more common among men. The ratio of male to female voyeurs is between 2:1 and 3:1. What little is known about voyeuristic disorder is largely gleaned from people who have been imprisoned for this behavior. Many offenders may also be hypersexual and have any or a number of other mental health conditions, including exhibitionistic disorder Exhibitionistic Disorder Exhibitionism involves exposing the genitals to become sexually excited or having a strong desire to be observed by other people during sexual activity. Exhibitionistic disorder involves acting... read more , depression Depression Depression is a feeling of sadness and/or a decreased interest or pleasure in activities that becomes a disorder when it is intense enough to interfere with functioning. It may follow a recent... read more , conduct disorder Conduct Disorder A conduct disorder involves a repetitive pattern of behavior that violates the basic rights of others. Children with a conduct disorder are selfish and insensitive to the feelings of others... read more , or antisocial personality disorder Antisocial Personality Disorder Antisocial personality disorder is a mental health condition that is characterized by a pervasive pattern of disregard for consequences and for the rights of others. People with antisocial personality... read more .
When voyeurism is a disorder, voyeurs spend a lot of time seeking out viewing opportunities. As a result, they may neglect important aspects of their life and not fulfill their responsibilities. Voyeurism may become the preferred method of sexual activity and consume countless hours of watching.
Diagnosis of Voyeuristic Disorder
A doctor's evaluation, based on standard psychiatric diagnostic criteria
Doctors diagnose voyeuristic disorder when
People have been repeatedly and intensely aroused by observing an unsuspecting person who is naked, undressing, or engaging in sexual activity, and the arousal has been expressed in fantasies, urges, or behaviors.
As a result, people feel greatly distressed or become less able to function well (at work, in their family, or in interactions with friends), or they have acted on their urges with a person who has not consented.
They have had the condition for 6 months or more.
Treatment of Voyeuristic Disorder
Psychotherapy and support groups
Sometimes other medications
Treatment usually begins when voyeurs are arrested. It includes psychotherapy, support groups, and antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) Several types of medications can be used to treat depression: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors, serotonin modulators, and serotonin-norepinephrine... read more (SSRIs).
If these medications are ineffective and the disorder is severe, medications that reduce testosterone levels and thus reduce the sex drive may be used. These medications include leuprolide and medroxyprogesterone acetate. People must give their informed consent to the use of these medications, and doctors periodically do blood tests to monitor the medication’s effects on liver function, as well as other tests (including bone density tests and blood tests to measure testosterone levels).
Drugs Mentioned In This Article
|Select Brand Names
|CAMCEVI, Eligard, Fensolvi, Lupron, Lupron Depot, Lupron Depot-Ped, Viadur
|Amen, Depo-Provera, Depo-subQ Provera 104, Provera