Porn Addiction: Stages, Symptoms, Causes, And Treatments

Porn Addiction

porn addiction is something we often cheat on, but ultimately it is behavior that can seriously damage relationships and take precedence over more important roles and responsibilities in your life.

Not everyone who watches porn will get addicted to it, some will just get toxic ideas about women, sex, marriage and children, that kind of harm is bad enough and porn is not the only ingredient in addiction. Usually, those who get addicted have some kind of emotional openness that allows the addiction to really take hold.

Porn companies don’t give a damn if you get completely addicted to their product, it’s great for business. An addicted customer keeps coming back for more. and so they fill their porn with images that will turn you on, wake you up and make the hormones flow. Sex and pornography can be a harder addiction to break than cocaine.

What is porn addiction?

It is considered a behavioral addiction characterized by an increasing obligation to view pornographic content or material. In the past, a person suffering from a pornography addiction primarily satisfied his desire for pornographic content by viewing or storing pornographic videos, magazines, and photos. Now, the tools available to fuel addiction have since evolved thanks to the Internet and other technologies, allowing anonymous access to unlimited pornography at all levels of explanation.

The man looks attentively at the computer screen while watching pornography, in addition to the Internet, other media, such as social networks and smartphones, allow addiction by providing an outlet to view it anywhere and at any time.

These devices allow you to store and view at higher volumes than ever before, leaving little to no visible physical evidence of your porn use. Various studies estimate that international rates of pornography consumption can range from 50% to 99% for men and 30% to 86% for women.

Stages of porn addiction

  • Early exposure. Most people who get addicted to porn start early, see things when they are very young, and set foot in the door.
  • Addiction. Later comes the addiction, it becomes a regular part of your life, you are hooked you cannot stop seeing it.
  • Climbing. After a while, the climb begins. You start looking for more and more graphic pornography.
  • Desensitization Over time, you start to get numb, even the most graphic and degrading porn doesn’t excite you anymore. You despair to feel the same emotion again but you cannot find it.
  • Acting sexually. At this point, many men make a dangerous leap and begin to act sexually, moving from paper and plastic images of porn to the real world.

Common Signs and Side Effects of Porn Addiction

Relationship problems as a result of addiction to pornography, although many medical and psychiatric professionals do not treat the compulsion to view or use pornographic material as an addiction, the signs and symptoms are very similar to those that signify an addiction to drugs or the alcohol.

The symptoms of a pornography addiction will vary depending on the person, especially in the availability of pornographic material, the duration of the pornography has been a compulsion, and the severity of the addiction. There are symptoms that commonly occur in many patients seeking treatment.

Warning signs and symptoms may include:

  • Not being able to stop viewing pornography or to stop engaging in behaviors associated with it, despite repeated attempts to do so. About 9% of viewers reported that they had made unsuccessful attempts to stop.
  • Experiencing the cravings to watch pornography. Like substance users, porn addicts can experience strong urges to view it frequently.
  • Getting angry, hostile, or irritable when asked to stop watching porn. Addicts may deny their viewing or feel upset when loved ones request that they stop.
  • Keeping all or part of pornography use a secret from loved ones. Addiction has been shown to lead to greater secrecy in relationships.
  • Feeling that one is living a double or secret life due to the use of pornography, you can feel guilty or ashamed and work hard to hide your viewing of pornography from others.
  • Continue to view pornography despite negative consequences, such as broken relationships or loss of a job. Relationships in which a partner is addicted can lead to reduced intimacy, emotional distance, less sexual satisfaction, and a poorer quality of the relationship overall.
  • Being unable to abstain during work hours can lead to disciplinary action or even losing your job.
  • Losing track of large chunks of time due to being absorbed in porn use. Addicts can spend much of the day watching porn, this can lead to it becoming a priority as everything else is reserved for viewing porn.
  • Requiring increasing amounts or more explicit pornography to obtain the same satisfaction or excitement, similar to developing a tolerance.

To determine whether addiction treatment is necessary, you may be asked to consider which of the following statements are true for you:

  • I feel powerless to resist the temptation to view pornography.
  • I often spend more time or money on pornography than I originally intended.
  • I have made many unsuccessful attempts to limit or stop viewing porn.
  • I spend a significant amount of time viewing pornography, thinking, or participating in activities that allow access to pornography.
  • I ignore family, social or work obligations.
  • I continue to use porn despite experiencing negative consequences.
  • I pass up opportunities, or consider missing opportunities, to have more time to use or view pornography.
  • I feel anxious, stressed, or irritable if I cannot access porn.

Many of these warning signs echo behaviors associated with substance use disorders , such as isolating to view pornography, or ignoring, replacing, or neglecting meaningful relationships due to a fixation on pornography. Porn addicts can find themselves watching pornographic images or content for hours.

What Causes Porn Addiction?

The addiction to pornography, like other substances can be understood through the principles of ” operant conditioning “, this is where a certain behavior, watching pornography in this case, is “reinforced” or rewarded, which in turn makes you want to do it again (over and over again).

Many different things can reinforce and therefore influence our behavior, but porn can be especially reinforced because the reward becomes a very basic instinctual drive: sex. So it is very easy to get addicted, where you are tapping into a fundamental (and very enjoyable) natural urge, it is also much easier to obtain than to go out and find a “partner” to fulfill this urge.

The problem occurs when the pursuit of sexual pleasure becomes excessive, impulsive or comes at the expense of other worthwhile behaviors, then we could say that one has an addiction to porn.

Other factors that influence porn addiction include:

Biological

  • You may have a genetic predisposition to impulsivity, emotional dysregulation, or sensation-seeking behavior.
  • You may have a predisposition to other characteristics associated with sexual addiction, such as anxiety or depression.
  • As you might expect, higher levels of sex hormones such as testosterone or estrogen can affect libido, if you are inclined to impulsive behavior and have high levels of sex-related hormones, you are more likely to engage in a pornographic observation. excessive or compulsive.

Psychological

  • The environmental factors in early life, including adverse events such as abuse or exposure to sexual content, can contribute to some of the underlying traits involved in behaviors like addiction to pornography.
  • Mental Health:
    Anxiety,  Depression,  Personality Disorder,  Poor Impulse Control, Performance Anxiety.
    Other mental health problems could contribute to pornography addiction behaviors.

Social

  • The rejection in relationships and social circles can lead to other less healthy ways to find sexual gratification.
  • Social isolation , not only increases the possibility of seeking inappropriate ways to be sexually gratified, but it also leads to a host of other problems, such as depression and physical illness, that can contribute to porn addictions or unhealthy sexual behavior.
  • Peer influence – having a friend, or a group of friends, for example, engage in excessive viewing of pornography can influence your behavior.

Why and how does porn addiction work?

The addiction generally refers to a state in which an individual experiences a decreased relative to their desire for a certain stimulus control and / or a greater sense of routine desire for that stimulus. Studies have shown that addiction to pornography is genuine behavioral, as evidenced by the development of tolerance; decreased control over “consumption” despite negative consequences and / or feelings and changes in brain chemistry after prolonged overexposure.

Like mind-altering substances, porn addiction is due in part to the relationship between porn use and natural substances in the brain. Neurotransmitters are substances released in the brain that cause feelings of pleasure and even euphoria in the body to reward healthy promoting behaviors (eat well, sleep well, feel happy, feel loved, for example).

When an individual artificially overstimulates the release of these chemicals through the use of drugs , alcohol, sex, pornography or any other stimulus, the body develops a tolerance and an expectation for those chemicals that cannot be met through normal activities, Healthy and addicted, individuals will continue to engage in unhealthy and even destructive behaviors to maintain the “high” that has been artificially achieved.

One reason that porn is addictive for some people is that it can appear to provide a space for sexual gratification in which the person’s relational difficulties are not activated – that is, if a person is already struggling with intimacy issues, trust or other interpersonal dynamics, sexual gratification through the objectification of others in which the individual is not experiencing any vulnerability because there is no real connection may seem less threatening. Some research has suggested that this disconnect is a large part of the devastating damage to relationships that porn addiction often causes.

Porn addiction compared to other forms of addiction

Porn addiction, like any other addiction, is not something that can be simply given up, like most types of addiction, it goes beyond the habit and becomes a chemical addiction where there is a chemical process that occurs in the brain, in the pleasure and reward centers as pornography is viewed.

Porn addiction has actually been compared to heroin addiction because of how difficult it is to break, what makes it so difficult is the immediate availability and sheer volume of pornographic content options, it is synonymous with an alcoholic who works in a bar, getting out of this addiction is very difficult to do yourself without the help of some kind.

How are pornography addiction and drug addiction different?

There is not much difference between porn addiction and drug addiction when it comes to the influence on the brain, a porn addiction can be just as difficult to break as a heroin addiction. However, the shame that comes with addiction is far greater than that of alcoholism or drug addiction.

Unlike alcoholism or drug addiction, there is much more shame and it is an addiction that can go unnoticed when compared to others, this makes porn addiction a silent killer as it does all this damage to your life, to your relationships without you or others noticing.

Can porn addiction be treated?

Yes, like other addictions and mental health problems it can be treated through different approaches.

Individual / group therapy

Individual or group therapy with a qualified mental health professional is always a safe approach. Individual therapy will generally consist of 30 to 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 other people who are struggling with a similar experience.

Cognitive-based therapy

It is based on the concept that our thoughts , emotions and behaviors are related, and when these become “dysfunctional” or overwhelmingly negative, they have serious consequences in our lives.

You will often focus on negative thoughts about yourself, others, and the world (for example, “I will never stop watching porn”) and work to turn them into more positive or functional thoughts (for example, “If I work on it, I will be able to stop watching porn ”).

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

motivational interview

One focus of this interview will work on knowing where you are in your current addiction and will help you make your own decision when, and if, you are ready to make a change. It is a less confrontational approach between 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, it is the cultivation of mindfulness focused on the present and without judgment.

Mindfulness-based approaches help people to become more aware of their thoughts, emotions , body sensations and behaviors, and help them to relate to these experiences in a different way, this allows these temporary and fleeting experiences to be rise and pass instead of allowing them to control one’s behavior.

Examples of mindfulness-based therapies include:

  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction .
  • Dialectical behavior therapy .
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy.
  • Compassion-based practices, such as compassion-focused therapy, are related to mindfulness-based approaches.

psychodynamic therapy

The psychodynamic therapy works on the assumption that unconscious impulses, conflicts and memories influence our behavior. This therapy will traditionally explore the life events of early childhood and their contribution to creating habits or patterns in one’s life; however, it can also be focused on the present and help the patient to identify what is currently keeping them “trapped” in a certain behavior, in this case addiction to pornography.

Couples Therapy / Counseling

Partner counseling can be very important for couples when one or both people view pornography in an unhealthy way, this type of counseling will focus both on solving addictions or individual behaviors and on improving communication, relationships and functioning healthy sexual relationship between the two partners.

What should I do if my child is addicted to pornography?

Due to the increased accessibility of Internet pornography, children and adolescents are at greater risk of developing an addiction to it than in the past. Addiction to pornography is especially traumatic for children and adolescents, as their brains are still developing, it can cause emotional disturbances and mental health problems if left untreated.

If you suspect that your child is addicted to pornography, you can approach him calmly and without prejudice, you can start by asking your child the following questions:

  • Have you ever seen pornography on the internet? If so, when did you start seeing it?
  • How often do you watch it and for how long?
  • Why do you see pornography on the internet?
  • When was the last time you viewed pornography?

It is extremely important to keep communication open and to make sure your child is comfortable talking to you about their addiction, this will ensure a positive healing environment for your child or adolescent.

If you are concerned about a sudden change in your child’s behavior and suspect that it is related to the use of pornography, there is hope for recovery. Call to speak with a treatment support specialist for information on treatment options for your child.

Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.

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