The 1977 blockbuster “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” was about how startling it would be to meet new lifeforms and how that would forever change life on Earth. In 2013, a lot of people who had previously been diagnosed with sexual dysfunction were told they were only having a close encounter with that often-startling condition.
Seems they no longer met the diagnostic criteria for SD.
That’s because in 2013, the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), which doctors use for treatment guidelines and insurance companies use to qualify claims, established stricter requirements for a diagnosis of SD. Previously, “clinically significant distress” was enough; now, SD has to last for six months and occur always or almost always in sexual encounters.
The result? Since 2013, the number of men diagnosed with SD plummeted from 38.2 percent to 4.2 percent of the population; in women it fell from 22.8 percent to 3.6 percent.
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Fortunately, if you’re struggling with SD but don’t meet the new criteria for treatment, you can take steps to help yourself. Poor circulation is a major cause of SD. Avoiding tobacco, even secondhand smoke, and managing stress are the first steps. The next? Take 10,000 steps a day, no excuses! Also adopt a heart-healthy diet that eliminates red meat and processed food, while adding healthy fats like olive oil and 5-9 servings of fresh produce daily. Those steps will improve circulation and boost energy and body confidence. The harder you work, the sooner you’ll get to that close encounter of the first kind!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.