The complex world of sex addiction
Sex addiction is an issue that - though widely regarded as a common problem - is rarely talked about by those who are living with the condition and particularly their loved ones.
Although medical professionals have long since established the disorder is one that is very real and can affect anyone, the majority of people continue to believe is simply an excuse for being unfaithful in a relationship or watching internet pornography.
The official definition of sex addiction is when a person's sexual urges, behaviours or thoughts are found to be extreme in frequency or feel out of one's immediate control.
Known by several other names, the condition is usually associated with addictive or obsessive personalities, as well as low self-esteem, self destructive behaviour or lowered sexual inhibitions.
Unfortunately, living with this loss of control also means those people with a sex addiction can find it difficult to form healthy relationships - thus putting existing romances or family ties under strain.
Similar to a drug dependency, the condition is caused by a powerful chemical substance that is released during sex.
Love addicts, however, become dependent on the emotional stability provided by romantic partners.
The consequences of sex addiction are widely regarded as varied by medical professionals. However, in many cases those who are affected have long-term relationship and intimacy issues.
On top of this, the problem can have a negative impact on them financially, physically, socially and professionally.
Unfortunately, having a romantic relationship with an individual who is addicting to making love increases the risk of them being unfaithful - very often even resorting to paying for sex from prostitutes to satisfy their urges.
This act means trust is something that is difficult to maintain for couples under these circumstances, with many struggling to regain the feeling after the damage has been done - even when they understand their partner's medical condition.
Individuals who seek professional treatment for the condition will find this process is similar to that provided for substance addiction. It involves identifying and changing behaviour that can be both painful and damaging.