SEX addiction is on the rise with more people than ever seeking help to manage their disorders.
The Rutland Centre in Dublin has reported a five-fold increase in people asking for help for sex addiction.
In response to this the centre, which specialises in the treatment of all forms of addiction, is organising its first Workshop for Partners of Sexual Addicts.
Centre Clinical Director Dr Fiona Weldon has hit out at the "trivialisation" of sex addiction in the media as "the best addiction to get".
"The reality for those who are compulsively addicted to sex, and their partners is very different," she stresses.
Figures from the centre show that the numbers of people seeking help has risen from 1pc of all those attending the centre in 2009 to the current 5pc. Sex addiction has been recognised as a legitimate mental disorder that can ruin careers, destroy relationships and cause health problems according to psychologists.
Golfer Tiger Woods underwent a six-week intensive programme to treat his sex addiction. Hollywood star Michael Douglas famously checked into a clinic to be treated for sex addiction during his marriage to his first wife.
The addiction is thought to affect five in every 100 sexually mature adults and occurs in both men and women, but may be diagnosed more often in men because women are less likely to seek treatment.
Dr Weldon explains that partners of sexual addicts "face an extraordinary and unique struggle. In other addictions it can be possible to get to a place of understanding and even forgiveness.
"However, with sexual addicts, there is such a betrayal of trust and a deep sense of shame that partners of sexual addicts can feel very isolated and lonely, often withdrawing from family and friends."
The Centre has organised its first workshop for partners on May 25 next, which aims to support partners to better understand the nature of sexual addiction.
Dr Weldon said that sexual addiction is characterised by preoccupation with sexual fantasies, a failure to resist sexual impulses and engaging in sexual behaviour to a greater extent or for longer than intended.