A former sex addict has revealed the extent of her desperation as a UK charity calls for sex addiction to be treated in the same way as alcohol and drugs.

Rebecca Barker told the BBC sex addiction ruined her life in 2014 following the birth of her third child.

The mother-of-three from the north of England said it "felt like my whole body was craving it" and sex gave her an "instant hit" that she came to rely on.

"The addiction got so bad that even if I was having sex five times a day, it just wasn't enough for me," she told the broadcaster.

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"It was after the birth of my third child and I was going through a period of depression."

"I started to crave sex more frequently. It got to the point where going out of the house I found very uncomfortable because it was all I could think about."

Barker said her insatiable needs began to ruin the relationship with her husband. She has since made a number of changes to her lifestyle, which has improved things.

Her confession comes amid growing awareness of sex addiction or "hypersexuality" and divided schools of thought on how it could be treated.

Sex addicts have previously told news.com.au the behaviour can take over their lives and leave them feeling a deep sense of shame.

One 42-year-old, known only as Aaron, described how he spent thousands of dollars a year buying sex but felt "almost no emotion" from it.

Another 30-year-old woman said her "happy marriage" was disrupted by her "high-risk and detrimental sexual behaviours" that had a "serious impact" on her family and friends.

"It got to the point where going out of the house I found very uncomfortable because it was all I could think about." Photo / File / 123RF

Sex addiction is generally treated in private clinics, however Peter Saddington from relationship charity Relate said addicts should get help similar to those with problems with alcohol or drugs.

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"For alcoholics, there is Alcoholics Anonymous, but they can also go to the NHS [which] provides support for people who have alcohol or drug problems," he told the BBC.

"It would be appropriate that [sex addicts] can go to their GP and get support because it has a crippling effect both on them, on relationships, on their families, their financial situation and their mental health."