Porn Addiction

  1. Article SummaryPrint
  2. Is Porn Addiction Really an Addiction?
  3. Signs of Porn Addiction
  4. Effects of Porn Addiction
  5. Porn Addiction Treatment and Recovery
  6. Therapy Options
  7. Porn Addiction Recovery Success Tips
  8. Compulsion or Addiction

Porn addiction can be defined as a behavioral addiction that is characterized by an ever-growing compulsion or need to view pornographic content or material. In the past, a person suffering from an addiction to pornography would satisfy his or her craving for pornographic content by viewing and/or storing pornographic videos, magazines and photos. The tools available to feed a porn addiction have since evolved along with technology, by providing unlimited pornography at all levels of explicitness. Today's porn addiction is also enabled by a range of devices, such as the Internet, social media and phones. These devices are enabling for a porn addict because they allow you to store and view porn in higher volumes than ever before while leaving little or no visible physical evidence of your porn use.

Did You Know?

A large percentage of people who are addicted to porn in any of its forms tend to experience difficulties in personal relationships. It is believed that this occurs because porn addicts tend to isolate themselves from friends, family and coworkers to continue the behaviors that fuel the addiction. Porn addiction may also lead to sexual dysfunction, which further isolates the person. These dysfunctions typically involve the inability to be physically intimate with another person. This inability to be intimate may or may not be helped with the presence of porn.

Did You Know?

Some members of the medical community believe that a small portion of porn addicts may develop an addiction that later leads to violent or antisocial behavior. This belief is based on the connection between porn addiction and violent crimes. This connection is disputed by others, however, because there are no conclusive studies to prove such a link exists.

Porn addiction treatment and recovery must address the addiction, but it must also work toward changing patterns of behavior and thoughts that contribute to a porn addiction.

Is Porn Addiction Really an Addiction?

porn_addictionAlthough some medical professionals do not treat the compulsion to view or use pornographic material as an addiction, the signs and symptoms of porn addiction are often similar to those that signal an addiction to drugs or alcohol. For example, people suffering with a porn addiction tend to ignore, replace or neglect significant relationships because of their fixation or obsession with pornography, just as a drug addict would replace these things with his or her drug of choice. Porn addicts will also isolate themselves just as those addicted to chemicals or substances will do to engage in viewing porn. Someone who is addicted to porn can spend several hours alone simply viewing pornographic images or content.

Symptoms or signs of a porn addiction will vary depending on the person and the availability of pornographic material, but there are symptoms that are often present for many patients seeking treatment.

Signs of Porn Addiction

  • You are unable to stop using porn or the behaviors associated with porn, despite attempts to do so.
  • Become angry, hostile or irritable if you are asked to stop using porn.
  • You keep all or part of your porn use secret from loved ones.
  • You feel as though you live a double or secret life because of your porn use.
  • You continue to view porn despite negative consequences, such as broken relationships or job loss.
  • You have lost track of large chunks of time because you've been absorbed in porn use.

A diagnosis of porn addiction by a medical professional is often dependent on several key factors. To determine whether porn addiction treatment is necessary, you may be asked to consider which of the following statements are true for your situation:

  • You feel powerless to resist the urge to view porn.
  • You frequently spend more time or money on porn than you initially intended.
  • You've tried without success to limit or stop viewing porn.
  • You spend a significant portion of your time viewing porn, thinking about porn or engaging in activities that will enable you to access porn.
  • You neglect family, social or work obligations to view porn.
  • You continue to use porn despite negative consequences.
  • The more often you engage in using or viewing porn, the more you need to increase the risk so that you can gain the same satisfaction or thrill.
  • You've passed up opportunities, or have considered passing up opportunities, so that you have more time to use or view porn.
  • You become anxious, stressed or irritable if you are unable to access porn.

If you answered yes to one or more of the above statements, professional treatment for porn addiction may be helpful for you. Choosing the right treatment center may seem difficult. You can contact a porn addiction treatment advisor at 1-800-928-9139 who can answer your questions confidentially at any time, day or night, with no obligation; or, you can click this link to contact us by email.

Did You Know?

Porn addiction and sex addiction are treated as two separate disorders. Porn addicts are often hooked to virtual or visual stimulation and not to sex itself. Often a porn addict is not interested in meeting someone to engage in sex; he or she only wants to view it.

Effects of Porn Addiction

Because porn addiction is often a private behavior that is carried out secretly or in isolation, it may seem like there are limited negative effects. After all, there are no other people involved, just the addict and his or her computer, videos or photos. But the negative effects of a porn addiction can be very similar to those found with any other type of addiction. It is best to seek professional medical help at a pornography addiction treatment center so that all of the problems that accompany your addiction can be addressed or resolved. If left untreated, pornography addiction can result in negative effects, which may include:

  • Broken or troubled intimate relationships
  • Feelings of shame and/or guilt
  • Problems with work or school and/or job loss
  • Financial troubles
  • Legal problems
  • Divorce
  • High risk of engaging in dangerous or unhealthy sexual activity, with an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases

Porn Addiction Treatment and Recovery

"To achieve recovery from porn addiction, you have to be honest and willing to seek help. "To achieve recovery from porn addiction, you have to be honest and willing to seek help. This honesty begins by finding a professional who is experienced in treating porn addiction and admitting that you have a problem. When discussing your addiction, don't leave out the embarrassing parts. Keep in mind that a professional therapist wants to help you overcome your addiction. He or she will not judge you because of what you've shared. The only way that he or she can establish an appropriate treatment and recovery plan is if he or she knows everything that your addiction entails.

Both private and publicly funded treatment facilities offer porn addiction rehabilitation and recovery programs. Outpatient treatment can be successful in some cases, but inpatient care is often recommended in the early stages of recovery. Inpatient care ensures not only that your use of porn is monitored, but also it provides access to support and counseling 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Therapy Options

Porn addiction can change the way that your brain functions by altering the natural production of neurotransmitters in your brain. Trying to stop using pornography alone is rarely effective. Porn addiction is most effectively treated by medical professionals.

Individual and group therapy for porn addiction are often coupled with family therapy as a key part of porn addiction treatment and recovery.

RecoveryIn individual or one-on-one therapy, your mental health and emotional well-being are evaluated by a counselor or therapist in a private, safe environment. This is critical in the initial stages of porn addiction recovery because it can be difficult to talk about the behaviors you've engaged in to satisfy your compulsion.

Part of this therapy includes education that teaches you to make healthier choices in your life and to replace your previous behaviors with positive ones. Porn addiction treatments often include a 12-step recovery program as part of this behavioral therapy. These may be carried out individually but are more effective if done in a group setting.

Group therapy is essential to porn addiction recovery because it shows you that you are not alone. A typical group therapy session is supervised by a therapist or counselor and includes people who are also battling addiction.

For more information on therapy options for pornography addiction, use the contact form or call 1-800-928-9139.

Did You Know?

Online pornography addiction is a newer type of porn addiction in which the addict obtains or views porn via the Internet. In some ways, online pornography addiction can be more intense or stronger than older forms of pornography addiction because of the privacy it provides and the availability of increasingly explicit content.

Porn Addiction Recovery Success Tips

Porn addiction is a behavioral addiction that is based largely on secrecy, habit and the thrill it provides. To successfully recover from a porn addiction, there are a number of things you can do:

  • Talk about your addiction in detail with a therapist or a friend that you trust. Choose someone who will be as honest in return.
  • Make a relapse prevention plan so that you are prepared for the times that you may feel tempted to use porn again.
  • Install tracking devices on your computer, phone and television so that a trusted individual can help monitor your online behavior.
  • Be aware of the signs and stages of porn addiction. This means general signs, as well as those that are unique to you.
  • Use porn addiction resources available to you, such as 12-step programs, therapists and support groups.

Myth: Treatment cures porn addiction. Treatment is not intended to cure an addiction to porn but rather to teach the patient methods and behaviors that replace his or her unhealthy behaviors. Much like a drug addict or alcoholic, a recovered porn addict ensures long-term recovery by abstaining from his or her drug of choice. A single image may be enough to relapse into full addiction again, just as it would for a person addicted to heroin or cocaine.

Did You Know?

There are an estimated 420 million pornographic Web pages online. These include both paid and free adult content websites.

Compulsion or Addiction

Mental health professionals have limited criteria to diagnose someone as conclusively porn addicted. Some feel it is a compulsion rather than an addiction because it is believed to be behavioral rather than biological. However, one of the key factors in addiction is the development of tolerance to the addictive substance. Over time, a porn addict often requires more frequent and increasingly explicit porn to experience the same high or excitement as he or she did originally. Because of this similarity, treatment centers often view porn as an addiction when planning rehab and recovery programs. Psychology Today also reports that the American Society of Addiction Medicine has confirmed that addiction of any kind can be a primary disease. This confirmation is based on the fact that addiction to porn is a function of brain changes, regardless of events in the patient's childhood or whether he or she engages in behavior that society deems unacceptable.

Myth:

Porn addiction is caused by the need for sexual gratification. It's not about the euphoria that can result from masturbation or orgasm, although this does play a role in reinforcing the behavior. Porn addiction is more about the novelty and the taboo of porn. Addicts get a certain thrill or sense of excitement from viewing pornographic content.