A private addiction rehabilitation center in Dublin has reported a 500 percent increase in people seeking help for sex addiction.

The Rutland Centre’s clinical director Doctor Fiona Weldon has hit out at the “trivialization” of sex addictions in the media, which seems to claim it is “the best addiction to get”.

Most famously world champion golfer Tiger Woods underwent a sex-intensive program to treat his addiction. Similarly Michael Douglas checked into a clinic for treatment during his marriage to his first wife.

Weldon told the Herald that sex addiction is far from a walk in the park. She said “The reality for those who are compulsively addicted to sex, and their partners is very different.”

Sex addiction has been recognized as a legitimate mental disorder that can ruin careers, destroy relationships and cause health problems, say psychologists. The center’s research shows that the number of people seeking help sex addiction has risen from 1 percent, of all clients, in 2009 to 5 percent.

Studies have shown that five in every 100 adults, both men and women, are affected by the addiction. They also find that women are less likely to ask for help with this addiction.

It is characterized by preoccupation with sexual fantasies, a failure to resist sexual impulses and engaging in sexual behavior to a greater extent or for longer than intended.

Weldon pointed out that the partners of sex 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 Rutland Centre, experts in treating all addictions, is now organizing the first Workshop for Partners of Sexual Addicts to help with those affected.

One of the most recent portrayals of a sex addict, Michael Fassbender (left) star of “Shame”Universal