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Addiction to sex and drugs 'very similar'

By Colin Francis

When Roxy Music star Bryan Ferry declared that "love is the drug" he may have been speaking the truth.

Scientists have found that sex and drug addiction may be two sides of the same neurological coin. When diagnosed sex addicts looked at explicit sexual images, it triggered brain activity very similar to that seen in people dependent on drugs.

But the researchers caution that this does not suggest pornography is generally addictive.

Scientist Dr Valerie Voon, from Cambridge University, said: "The patients in our trial were all people who had substantial difficulties controlling their sexual behaviour and this was having consequences for them, affecting their lives and relationships.

"In ways, they show similarities in their behaviour to patients with drug addictions. We wanted to see if these similarities were reflected in brain activity, too.

"There are clear differences in brain activity between patients who have compulsive sexual behaviour and healthy volunteers. These differences mirror those of drug addicts."

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