LIFESTYLE

How To Tell If Someone You Know Has A Sex Addiction

30/07/2014 14:11 BST | Updated 30/07/2014 14:59 BST

Sex addiction is a dirty phrase. The general attitude is that of a filthy joke, not an issue that should be treated as a serious problem.

Despite living in an addictive culture and sex being the fourth most common reason for debt in the UK, according to Suzi Godson's 10 Things You Need To Know Before You Decide You Have A Sex Addiction, we prefer to take the stiff upper-lip approach.

"The jury is still out on whether sex addiction is a legitimate diagnosis or an excuse for bad behavior," writes Suzi. "The American Psychiatric Association does not recognise sex addiction as a mental illness."

"The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) does not include a full entry on hypersexuality -- the clinical term for sex addiction. Instead, it is listed among the conditions that require more research."

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The Perils of Internet Addiction

Should You Dump Your Boyfriend When You Catch Him Watching Porn?

While we scoff at the talk of sex addiction, Rupert Wolfe-Marry's Confessions Of A Sex Addicts suggests that whatever the addiction, it still needs treating.

"People often start on the road to addiction by using alcohol or drugs or certain behaviours such as sex, gambling or eating to dull the pain," he says.

"Sexual compulsivity can be similar to other addictions, which in turn implies that addiction therapists can help them."

The NHS likens sex addiction to that of any substance abuse too, advising that not only will addicts have intimacy problems but financial, physical and social issues too.

"The recovery process for sex addicts is similar to that of substance addictions as it involves identifying and changing behaviour that's painful and damaging."