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Porn Addiction

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Table of Contents

This page contains the following information:


Definition of Porn Addiction

Porn addiction, which is a subset of sex addiction, can refer to a range of behaviors that are done in excess and negatively impact one’s life. “Porn addiction” is not an official diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V (DSM-5). However, an addiction to porn can lead to serious consequences in many aspects of one’s life.

Pornography Statistics

Is Watching Porn Healthy?

This is a topic for debate–there is no clear answer. Some individuals, experts, and communities will contend that watching porn to any degree will have negative effects on one’s life. However, others will suggest that there are healthy dosages, and types, of porn to consume.

This video shows Ran Gavrieli and the 3 reasons why he stopped watching porn. He explores the issues surrounding porn and cultural damages influenced by porn, as well as ideas on sex and intimacy.

Signs and Symptoms of Porn Addiction

It is always recommended to speak with a healthcare professional if you are seriously concerned about your behavior. A healthcare professional will be best suited to help you understand your behaviors and treatment options.

What Causes Porn Addiction?

Porn addiction, like other substances or “things” that people can become addicted to, can be understood through principles of “operant conditioning.”

This is where a certain behavior, watching porn in this case, is “reinforced,” or rewarded, which in turn makes you want to do it again (and again).

Lots of different things can be reinforcing, and thus influence our behavior, but porn can be especially reinforcing because the reward taps into a very basic instinctual drive–sex. Therefore, it is very easy to become addicted to porn–it is accessing a fundamental (and very enjoyable) natural drive. It is also much easier to obtain than going out and finding a “mate” to fulfill this drive.

The problem occurs when seeking sexual pleasure becomes excessive, impulsive, or comes at the expense of other valued behaviors. Then we might say that one has a porn addiction.

Other Factors Influencing Porn Addiction

Biological

Psychological

Social

Video: The Science of Porn Addiction

Treatment for Porn Addiction

It is important to seek treatment or support if you feel that you are struggling with an addiction to porn or an addiction to sex. Different types of treatment are described later on this page, including individual, group, 12 step, couple’s, and inpatient therapies.

If you are struggling with an addiction to porn, call 1-888-997-3147 to speak with a treatment support specialist and start your recovery process today.

Effects of Addiction to Pornography

Physical

couple arguing

Psychological

Social

Porn Addiction in Teenagers

Due to the accessibility of sexually explicit material on the internet, porn addiction is becoming a growing concern in teenagers. With the click of a button they can be exposed to endless pages of adult content.

Porn Statistics in Teens

Viewing pornography can have negative consequences on teenagers down the line, affecting both their psychological and physical wellbeing. These ramifications include:

Research reveals that teenagers exposed to sexually explicit websites are more likely to be promiscuous and more likely to have used alcohol or other intoxicating substances during their last sexual encounter. This puts them at a higher risk for developing a substance abuse disorder or mental health disorder.

Is My Husband Addicted to Porn?

Pornography addiction does not only affect the addict. It can also negatively impact the wellbeing of the individual’s wife or girlfriend. The addiction can cause the following feelings within the wife of a porn addict:

The majority of the women married to husbands addicted to porn meet the criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a serious mental disorder, and require treatment.

Can Porn Addiction Be Treated?

Yes. Porn addiction, like other addictions and mental health issues, can be treated through a number of different approaches.

Individual/Group Therapy

Individual or group therapy with a qualified mental health professional is always a safe approach. Individual therapy will usually consist of 30-60 minute sessions, focusing on your behaviors related to porn addiction and any related issues.

Group therapy will allow you to be in a community of others who are struggling with a similar experience.

Cognitive-Based Therapy (CBT)

CBT is based on the concept that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all related, and when these become “dysfunctional” or overwhelmingly negative, it leads to serious consequences in our lives.

CBT will often focus on negative thoughts about oneself, others, and the world (e.g., “I will never stop watching porn”) and work to change these into more positive, or functional, thoughts (e.g., “If I work at it, I will be able to stop watching porn”).

Structured assignments and careful self-observation will guide individuals on the path to recovering.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

An MI approach will work on “meeting you where you are at” in your current addiction and help you make your own decision when, and if, you are ready to make a change in your life.

MI is a less confrontational approach between the therapist and patient, but it can have a powerful, dramatic, and long-lasting effect on one’s behavior.

Mindfulness-Based Therapies

Mindfulness-Based Therapies incorporate “mindfulness” as a key ingredient in treatment. Mindfulness is the cultivation of attention that is present-focused and nonjudgmental.

Mindfulness-based approaches help individuals gain more awareness over their thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and behaviors, and help them “relate” to these experiences in a different way. This allows these “temporary” and “fleeting” experiences to rise and pass away instead of letting them control one’s behavior.

Examples of mindfulness-based therapies include:

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy works under the assumption that unconscious drives, conflicts, and memories are influencing our behavior. This therapy will traditionally explore early-childhood life events and their contribution to creating habits or “patterns” in one’s life; however, it can also be present-focused and help the patient identify what is currently keeping them “stuck” in a certain behavior, in this case porn addiction.

12-Step Recovery

12-step recovery programs, like Sex Addicts Anonymous, are typically group-focused and are similar to other recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. They stress the importance of acknowledging one’s “powerlessness” over their addiction and asking God for help in their recovery. However, not all 12-step programs are centered around religious material.

Couples Therapy/Counseling

Couple’s counseling can be very important for partners when one, or both, individuals watch porn in an unhealthy way. This type of counseling will focus on both resolving individual addictions or behaviors, and improving communication, relations, and healthy sexual functioning between the two partners.

Medications for Porn Addiction

The FDA has not approved any medication solely for the purpose of treating porn addiction. Some research of different medications has revealed promising results in decreasing the symptoms of porn addiction but there is a lack of randomized, controlled trials.

Porn addiction and related sexual dysfunctions oftentimes co-occur with mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. These mental health issues can be treated using antidepressants (such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or “SSRIs”) or related drugs, which can reduce sexual cravings associated with porn addiction.

If a patient doesn’t respond well to antidepressants or experiences unpleasant side effects, there are a couple alternatives:

These medications have only been used to treat those with paraphilia (a condition in which a person is sexually aroused by atypical or abnormal behaviors).

Although some research has been conducted, conclusive recommendations cannot be made due to a lack of reliable evidence.

Mental Health Disorders

Evidence reveals a high correlation between porn addiction and psychiatric conditions, specifically mood, anxiety, and personality disorders.

Studies have indicated that pornography viewers have higher levels of depressive symptoms and a poorer quality of life. This explains why antidepressants can be effective in treating porn addiction.

Clinical depression, which porn addicts commonly suffer from, is a severe mental health illness that requires professional treatment. Typical symptoms include:

If you are addicted to porn and think you suffer from clinical depression, contact your medical provider immediately. It is vital that your treatment plan addresses both your depression and sex addiction.

Substance Abuse

Research indicates that the use of pornography can cause sexually compulsive and dependent behaviors, which can lead to the development of a sex addiction as well,. There is also a significant correlation between sexual addiction and substance use disorders.

Furthermore, teenagers who view sexually explicit material are more likely to have used alcohol or other illicit substances during their most recent sexual encounter. The earlier someone begins using a substance, the more likely it is that he or she will become addicted. Therefore, teens who develop a porn addiction are at a greater risk for developing a substance abuse disorder as well.

One study has revealed that frequent use of pornography by boys aged 18 years old has been associated with co-occurring problematic behaviors such as consuming alcohol more often and selling sex.

Treating co-occurring addictions is a complex process. Medical professionals must assess the pattern of drug use and pornography viewing and how they relate to each other. Once the interaction of both addictions is assessed, then appropriate treatment can be administered.

If you think that you have issues with both porn addiction and substance addiction, it is critical to your recovery that you find a treatment center that can cater specifically to your needs. Call 1-888-997-3147 today.

Is My Child is Addicted to Porn?

There is no official medical definition of pornography addiction but there is extensive medical literature focused on the topic. That being said, there are some behavioral signs that often co-occur with excessive porn use:

Additionally, there are some signs associated with computer use that a parent should be aware of when evaluating for porn addiction:

What Should I Do if My Child is Addicted to Porn?

Due to the increased accessibility of porn on the internet, children and teens are at a higher risk for developing an addiction to porn than in the past. Porn addiction is especially traumatizing for children and teens, as their brains are still developing. It can cause emotional disturbances and mental health issues if left untreated.

If you suspect that your child is addicted to porn, you may want to approach them in a calm and nonjudgmental fashion. You can begin by asking your child the following questions:

It’s extremely important to maintain open communication and to make sure your child feels comfortable talking to you about his or her addiction. This will ensure a positive healing environment for your child or teen.

If you are worried about a sudden change in your child’s behavior and suspect that it is related to porn use, there is hope for recovery. Call 1-888-997-3147 to speak to a treatment support specialist and learn about treatment options for your child.

Porn Addiction Treatment Options for Teens

Although the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V (DSM-5) does not list porn addiction as a diagnosable condition yet, there are a few treatment options that cater specifically to teenagers suffering from a porn addiction.

How to Help Prevent Your Child From Developing a Porn Addiction

As a parent, it is crucial to have open communication with your child. It is not recommended that you avoid the topic of sex, as your child may have many questions pertaining to sexual relationships and development. There are some important factors to consider when attempting to prevent your child from developing a porn addiction: