Author: James Anderson

How to Identify and Treat a Pornography Addiction

what is porn addiction

What separates a porn addiction from a keen interest in porn is the negative consequences of the behavior. With porn addiction, you spend an inordinate amount of time watching porn instead of interacting with others or completing important tasks. The behavior persists even if it harms your career, relationships, or state of well-being. One group of researchers found that watching porn didn’t activate the parts of the brain usually involved with addiction. Be wary of therapists who claim to “specialize” in diagnosis and treatment of pornography. It’s difficult to “specialize” in a disorder that lacks a professionally agreed upon definition or uniformly outlined diagnostic criteria.

According to a 2015 study published in the journal Behavioral Science, an electroencephalogram (EEG) can detect changes in brain activity (specifically, a reactive event called P300) when porn is viewed. Overcoming porn addiction is a gradual process, and slip-ups and relapses may occur. Stay committed, be patient with yourself, and continue seeking help and support as needed.

what is porn addiction

Psychotherapy can be very beneficial in helping you understand and change your behavior. In particular, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of therapy that focuses on rewiring unhelpful thinking patterns, may be helpful for managing pornography consumption. The study findings show that certain traits — neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and obsessive-checking behaviors — were linked to high porn use. It’s possible that men who fall into these behaviors may have more compulsive personalities.

Drugs & Supplements

He says porn addicts may find that their use escalates over time, both in the time they devote to it and the intensity of the content they consume. This can lead them to live a “double life,” lying about or hiding altogether their dependence on porn. Neither does the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. The group says there’s little proof that either sex addition or porn addition are problems. In a position statement on the topic, the group cautions against making consensual sexual behavior a disorder. Untreated, compulsions or addictions can become a destructive force in your life.

Plus, some say it’s difficult to get a handle on how widespread the problem is, in part, because few users think the habit is a problem. Counseling sessions will help you understand what caused the compulsion in the first place. Your therapist can help you develop effective coping mechanisms to change your relationship with pornographic materials. This easy access makes it more difficult to stop if watching porn has become a problem. Anyone seeking treatment should choose a therapist whose values align with their own. Interview the therapist about their beliefs and philosophy before committing to treatment.

Steele, V. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, published online July 16, 2013. It can also lead to career or financial problems if you’re ignoring responsibilities or missing obligations, or viewing porn at work where you can be subject to disciplinary action. On the other hand, addictions are about lack of control — and that can cause significant problems.

what is porn addiction

Since then, it’s become much easier to access porn via the internet and streaming services. A Kinsey Institute survey found that 9 percent of people who view porn have unsuccessfully tried to stop. I recently began to run the Out of Control Sexual Behavior Men’s Group in my practice. Our mission is to offer reliable tech help and credible, practical, science-based life advice to help you live better.

Porn addiction treatment

As the American Psychological Association (APA) notes, experts don’t agree about the effects of pornography. Proponents suggest that it can help people improve their sex lives and provide a safe outlet for desires. Opponents believe it damage relationships, contributes to sexual aggression, and creates unhealthy or destructive behaviors.

  1. You don’t have to confront your porn addiction alone or quit “cold turkey.” A mental health professional who is experienced in treating sexual dysfunction can help you address how your behavior has impacted your life and the lives of those around you.
  2. The disorder is estimated to affect 3%-6% of the population, though it’s difficult to know for sure.
  3. Specifically, hypersexual disorder (commonly referred to as sex addiction) refers to excessive and uncontrollable sexual thoughts, desires, urges, or behaviors that cause distress and harm to your relationships, finances, and other areas of your life.
  4. A person may become dissatisfied with their own sex life or engage in risky behaviors, such as using porn at work.
  5. Counseling sessions will help you understand what caused the compulsion in the first place.
  6. The study findings show that certain traits — neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and obsessive-checking behaviors — were linked to high porn use.

Indeed, because many researchers do not believe that pornography addiction is a real medical condition, some doctors and counselors may feel that no treatment is necessary. It is important to note that some people who claim that pornography is addictive may oppose its existence altogether or have very rigid ideas about healthy sexuality. For example, they may believe that a monogamous heterosexual relationship is the only appropriate sexual outlet.

Press Play for Advice On Dealing With Porn Addiction

Addictions involve an inability to stop the behavior, despite negative consequences. However, whether behavioral addiction symptoms also meet other physiological criteria for addiction (withdrawal/ tolerance) is more debatable. The science behind porn addiction is still uncertain, but here is what we know about treatment. Using pornography may also activate the dopamine system, potentially leading to addiction.

Since the existence of “porn addiction” is not recognized by the APA, no definitive diagnostic criteria guide mental health professionals in its diagnosis. While it’s still unclear whether or not pornography use is a diagnosable addiction, it’s certainly harmful for some individuals. A study that looked at behavioral addictions among 51 participants with substance use disorders found that 9.8% believed they also had an addiction to sex or pornography. There’s an important difference between looking at porn and being addicted to porn. Looking at porn can be a totally healthy form of sexual expression; it becomes an addiction when it begins to interfere with other parts of your daily life, like work and relationships.

The authors caution that little evidence supports a causal relationship between pornography use and its purported harmful effects. Some doctors consider porn addiction to be a hypersexual disorder — an umbrella term that includes behaviors such as excessive masturbation. Porn addiction refers to an emotional dependence on pornography that interferes with daily life, relationships, and the ability to function. A person may become dissatisfied with their own sex life or engage in risky behaviors, such as using porn at work. The porn use may then be a strategy to avoid further conflict with a partner and more of a symptom of a deeper relational conflict. Ask a primary care physician, mental health professional, or local hospital for information on pornography or sexual addiction support groups.

What treatment options are available?

If he has not come to terms with his own rage, he may feel clenching his jaw area. Margaret Seide, MS, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of depression, addiction, and eating disorders. With all this confusion around what porn dependence and addiction look like, plus whether they’re even recognized as real issues, it’s hard to determine if your porn habit is normal or a little too intense.