Are You Addicted to Porn?

Article Summary Print

With the rise in popularity of porn in the digital age, addictive behaviors surrounding it have also become a problem for many people. According to the APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology, somewhere between 50 and 99% of men and approximately 30 to 86% of women watch porn.1 For some it may be a harmless way to pass time or perhaps something that spices things up in the bedroom. But for others it can become a destructive habit that negatively impacts many areas of their lives.

During the drafting of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), reviewers considered adding a diagnosis of hypersexual disorder with pornography addiction as a subtype. However, after much consideration they determined there is not currently enough evidence to label it as its own disorder.

projectknow-shutter105533567-porn-addictionWhile not formally characterized as a disorder, pornography addiction still qualifies as an impulse-control disorder as well as a process disorder, or a set of maladaptive behaviors that create distress in a number of areas in the user’s life. A study conducted by the Kinsey Institute revealed that at least 9% of porn viewers reported not being able to stop watching pornography even when they wanted to do so,a hallmark of addictive behavior.

If you think you or someone you love is struggling with pornography addiction, ask yourself these questions to determine whether or not viewing porn has become a significant problem:2

  • Do you spend far more time viewing porn than you originally intended?
  • Are you unsuccessful in your efforts to stop or limit your consumption of pornography?
  • Has your time spent viewing pornography interfered with, or taken precedence over, other personal and professional commitments, hobbies, and relationships in your life?
  • Do you go out of your way to keep your pornography consumption a secret? (e.g. deleting your web browser history, lying about viewing porn)
  • Has viewing pornography caused significant problems in your intimate relationship(s)?
  • Do you experience a cycle of arousal and enjoyment before and during pornography consumption, followed by feelings of shame, guilt, and remorse after you have viewed pornography?
  • Do you spend a significant amount of time thinking about pornography, even when you are not watching it?
  • Has viewing pornography otherwise caused any other negative consequences in your personal or professional life (missed work, poor performance, neglected relationships, financial problems)?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then your pornography viewing may be problematic. It’s important to note that porn addiction is not interchangeable with love addiction, which emphasizes the high a person gets from falling in love as opposed to viewing porn.

When overuse of porn becomes harmful, a person may want to consider seeking help if unable to stop on their own.

For more information about how you can get help, contact our treatment support representatives at 1-888-287-0471.

Some of the many negative side effects of pornography dependence or addiction include:3

  • Spending so much time viewing pornography that you don’t have enough time for other important commitments in your life.
  • Neglected intimate relationships.
  • Financial problems due to money spent on pornography.
  • Progressing from viewing pornographic magazines and videos to webcam sexual activities that may put a strain on intimate relationships or can be considered cheating by a partner.
  • Feelings of guilt, shame, or anxiety due to use.
  • Greater risk of divorce.
  • Greater risk of infidelity.
  • Greater risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease or infection.

Treatment for Porn Addiction

If you or someone you love is having difficulty controlling pornography consumption, here are some tips to try to help decrease or completely stop usage:

  • Make a pros and cons list so you can compare the negative consequences of your pornography usage with things you enjoy about it.
  • Use a web application to block pornographic websites from your computer.
  • Try slowly decreasing your usage over time rather than attempting to quit “cold turkey”.
  • Treat pornography addiction the same as you would drug addiction. Understand that you will likely experience cravings for pornography, so anticipate such cravings by implementing strategies to help cope with cravings when they arise.
  • Know what your triggers are. Ask yourself what things make you want to consume pornography and if possible, avoid those situations, events, and people.
  • Find a hobby to replace your pornography use so you have something to fill the time and won’t be as tempted to give in and watch it.
  • If you are in a romantic relationship, consider talking to your partner about the problem and perhaps trying some new techniques in the bedroom that may help you be less tempted to view pornography.
  • Change your habits and routines that involve pornography use.
  • Spend less time alone and more time engaging in social activities.

If you have attempted to quit on your own and remain unsuccessful, you may want to consider professional treatment for pornography addiction, which may fall under the broad category of sexual addiction and disorders. Some professional treatment options to consider include:3projectknow-shutter403048426-counseling

  • Support groups: There are a variety of support groups available across the country, such as Sex Addicts Anonymous, that may be a helpful means of support for someone struggling with pornography addiction.
  • Therapy/counseling: Cognitive-behavioral therapy and other forms of counseling can help those with a pornography addiction learn how to effectively change their thoughts and behaviors surrounding pornography addiction and address underlying emotional issues that may be contributing to the addiction.
  • Dual diagnosis treatment: In some instances, pornography and other sexual addictions are associated with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, and low self-esteem. Therefore, treatment for pornography addiction may encompass treating any co-occurring mental health disorders.
  • Inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation: While traditionally people don’t enter inpatient or outpatient treatment strictly for porn addiction, if a user’s life has completely decompensated as a result of uncontrolled use, then this form of treatment may be warranted. Inpatient treatment takes place in a residential facility and is best for those with extreme cases of pornography addiction, while outpatient programs allow the patient to live at home and continue to work while attending groups and individual counseling at a treatment center.
  • Medication treatment with Naltrexone: Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist medication commonly prescribed for the treatment of opiate addiction and alcoholism. The drug works by blocking the brain’s ability to augment dopamine release. A 2008 study published by Mayo Clinic found that naltrexone effectively removed the euphoric “rush” and powerful urge to view pornography in a man with severe, recurring pornography addiction. More research needs to be done in this area, but it may be an effective treatment regimen for those who have not had success with behavioral methods.4

For more information about finding treatment for pornography addiction and its side effects, call 1-888-287-0471 today.

Sources

  1. Weir, K. (2014). Is pornography addictive? Monitor in Psychology, 45(4), 46.
  2. UT Dallas: Student Counseling Center. (2016). Pornography Addiction.
  3. Fong, T.W. (2006). Understanding and Managing Compulsive Sexual Behaviors. Psychiatry MMC, 3(11), 51-58.
  4. Bostwick, J.M. & Bucci, J.A. (2008). Internet Sex Addiction Treated with Naltrexone. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 83(2), 226-230.
Find a Treatment Center Today
Call us toll free
1-888-287-0471
Sponsored by Leading Treatment Centers
Or click the button below to request a free assessment
Free Assesment
Useful Resources

Here are some Useful Resources for Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment.

Call Today.
1-888-287-0471