Sex addiction could be treated on NHS after health chiefs recognise it as mental health condition

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By Henry Bodkin

Sex addicts may be given treatment on the NHS after global health chiefs formally recognised the addiction as a mental health condition.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said people who suffer from the disorder for at least six months and experience substantial distress should be entitled to medical treatment.

Up to four per cent of people in the UK are believed to suffer from sex addiction, however the NHS currently does not recognise it as an illness.

However, the WHO’s position change makes it likely that policy bosses will have to review rules determining who is entitled to mental health care.

The move comes after the international body also declared that compulsive video-game playing is a disorder.

Dr Valerie Voon, from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, described the decision as “an excellent step for patients as it allows them to recognise that they are suffering with a problem”.

“It takes it out of the shadows and they are able to seek help for it,” she added.”

According to the WHO, compulsive sexual behaviour disorder is defined as an inability to control intense sexual urges leading to people neglecting their health despite often deriving no pleasure from being intimate.

Groups providing support for those addicted to sex say they have seen a fourfold increase in people seeking help in the last decade and that treatment should be provided free on the health service.

A questionnaire completed by 21,058 people since 2013 on the Sex Addiction Help website revealed 91 per cent of those seeking help for sex addiction were male.

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