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Pedophilia From a Mental Health Perspective  

Author:  Fred  Berlin, M.D., Ph.D..

Source: Volume 16, Number 01, December/January 2015 , pp.1-4(4)

Sex Offender Law Report

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Not every sex crime involves a mental disorder (nor, of course, are all mental disorders criminalized). Pedophilia, however, is a condition that strongly engages both the crimininal justice and clinical mental health spheres—usually the former to a greater degree, or at the expense of, the latter. Child molestation is an abhorent crime; pedophilic disorder is a psychiatric condition, one that can develop in otherwise decent individuals who never commit an act of molestation (although they may be guilty of viewing sexual images the mere possession of which is deemed a criminal offense). This article addresses pedophilia from a mental-health perspective, defining pedophilia disorders, examining best practices for evaluation, risk assessment, and treatment options, and looking at policies that encourage treatment.

Keywords: exclusive and non-exclusive forms of pedophilia; sexual attractions; risk factors for the development; biological conditions; cognitively distorted thought processes; biological cravings; sex-drive-lowering medication; strong public-health approach

Affiliations:  1: Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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