Surge in sex addicts seeking help after ‘Shame’

The number of Irish people seeking help for sex addiction has doubled since the release of a new movie, starring the Kerry-raised Michael Fassbender.

The Irish actor, 34, has been praised for his tortured portrayal of man whose life is torn apart by his sexual addiction in hit film Shame.

Relationship experts in Ireland said many cinema-goers have identified with Fassbender’s character.

Declan Fitzpatrick, who runs the Dublin-based Addictive Behaviours Centre Ireland, said the movie had doubled the number of enquiries he has received about the problem.

However, he believes thousands are suffering in silence, either unaware they have a problem or that there is help available.

In worst-case scenarios sex addiction can destroy lives, causing people to lose their jobs and families or leading to financial ruin.

Mr Fitzpatrick said many of the nation’s sufferers, which he says could be as high as 10%, were likely to be successfully treated because of the film.

“I’ve seen the film and I think it’s very realistic... “What it does well is debunk the myth that people who are addicted to sex are having the time of their lives by going around bonking everybody.

“That’s not the case. It’s a nightmare scenario for those who suffer it. The addiction is typically driven by emotional pain and those going through it typically have low self-esteem and poor relationships.

“Unlike other addictions like alcohol, drugs and gambling, it’s less understood and often trivialised... The numbers seeking treatment have been increasing year on year since we set up 12 years ago... typically now we’d have between 200 and 300 clients in a year.

“And we’ve been a lot busier in the past month. Since the film came out we’ve been getting about 20 enquires each week, which is twice as much as the normal weekly average.”

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