The Truth About Porn Addiction

The Truth About Porn Addiction

Porn As An Addiction

Porn addiction is similar to drug addiction in many ways – predominantly because those who suffer from addiction to porn will continuously sacrifice their personal wellbeing, interpersonal relationships, professional lives, and mental and emotional stability despite any potential efforts to stop. Addictive behavior is classified as action that is both rewarding and reinforcing, meaning that engaging in the behavior produces some positive neurological effect on the addict, and that the probability of repeating behaviors because of this pleasurable effect is enhanced significantly. Porn addiction and addiction to cybersex have recently become widely known as true behavioral addictions, seeing as studies substantiate the rewarding and reinforcing properties. While the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) does include a new section featuring behavioral addictions, addictive gambling is the only disorder referenced thus far. The DSM-5 acknowledges that behavioral addictions are very similar to substance dependencies in the sense that the same symptoms are displayed.

These include:

  • Increased preoccupation with the behavior
  • Diminished ability to control engagement in the behavior
  • Increased tolerance
  • Psychological withdrawal
  • Negative psychological effects
  • Adverse psychosocial consequences (interpersonal, work-related, etc.)

What Does Porn Addiction Look Like?

Those who are addicted to porn will watch online pornography compulsively, to the point where it begins to interfere with the normal functioning of their day-to-day lives. This variation of behavioral addiction is extremely prevalent throughout modern day society – though many sufferers do not come forwards and seek adequate help for fear of stigmatization, judgment, and misunderstanding or scorn from peers. If you believe you may be suffering from an addiction to pornography, take comfort in knowing that thousands of others are currently seeking treatment for very similar disorders. If porn has become somewhat of an issue in your life but you are still unsure as to whether or not you suffer from a diagnosable addiction, take a look at the following criteria.

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Porn Addiction – Criteria

  1. Total loss of control over the amount of time spent viewing pornography and the ability to entirely cease use.

Porn addicts will often go to great lengths to attempt to control their engagement. Sometimes they will cancel all of their online subscriptions or throw out their entire DVD collections – only to return to compulsive use within a matter of days or hours.

  1. Preoccupation or mental obsession with sexual imagery.

It has been suggested that those who suffer from porn addiction will spend somewhere between 11 and 15 hours per week searching for and watching porn. However, this amount of time is only what is required to qualify as an ‘addict’ – many will dedicate significantly more time than that.

  1. Negative consequences related to repeated porn viewing, and the continuation of engagement despite this slew of repercussions.

Porn addicts experience very similar consequences to those suffering from alcoholism or heroin addiction. In many cases, their interpersonal relationships will be severely compromised. They will begin to isolate, their work performance will decrease dramatically, and they will begin to neglect personal health and hygiene. Many porn addicts have lost marriages to their disorder – many have lost jobs, homes, and self-respect. This variation of behavioral addiction can be highly, highly destructive.

If you believe you may be struggling with porn addiction, help is available. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has proven to be highly effective in treating those suffering from behavioral addictions, and as more and more individuals are coming forward, the ability to explore and expand potential treatment options continues to grow. If you or someone you love has been suffering from porn addiction, or any other compulsive and destructive behavioral pattern, please call one of our trained representatives today to find out what steps to take.

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