Health

Porn Addiction: What Is It And How Can You Treat It?

Porn Addiction: What Is It And How Can You Treat It?

Did you know that the world’s leading porn site, PornHub, reported 42 billion site visits in 2019? Such a high number of visits indicates that numerous people are viewing porn on the internet every day.

But porn addiction is not officially recognized by the American Psychological Association. Regardless, it affects 8% of adults who consume graphic content regularly. Therefore, it’s imperative to look into the addictive, compulsive behavior, recognize it and treat it. 

What Is Porn Addiction?

Addiction to pornographic content is an individual’s obsessive need to consume erotic, graphic material. Stemming from compulsive behavior, excessive consumption of porn is detrimental to one’s personal and professional life.

However, porn addiction is highly controversial as the medical community refuses to acknowledge it as a well-defined addiction.

But porn addiction creates emotional and psychological dependence. It also causes physical health problems. Therefore, problematic pornography use (PPU) is categorized under a hypersexual disorder.

PPU affects about 3-6% of people in our society. But it is challenging to determine the exact number due to a lack of diagnostic criteria and concrete evidence.

Diagnosis Of Porn Addiction

According to the World Health Organization, compulsive sexual behavior is a recognized mental health disorder, and it is closely linked to addiction.

Therefore, World Health Organization also recognizes the repetitive need of an individual to watch porn and labels it as problematic pornography use (PPU). PPU is diagnosed as a compulsive sexual behavior disorder.

People with PPU have different brain activity as their brain’s response changes when they watch erotic material. According to research, porn addiction is closely related to substance and alcohol addiction as it circuits the brain with reward and motivation.

Regardless, porn addiction is not recognized as a true addiction in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Due to this, it is challenging to diagnose porn addiction.

Many therapists and psychologists refuse to acknowledge the condition as an addiction. But excessive use of pornography and a person’s inability to stop is detrimental to their personal and professional life. Therefore, it’s crucial to look for the signs and symptoms of PPU to understand and treat the condition. 

Signs And Symptoms Of Porn Addiction

If your compulsive need to watch pornography creates problems, you must look for the signs and symptoms.

Here are the common signs of PPU. 

• Inability to stop watching porn.
• Putting yourself at disciplinary risk to watch porn.
Feelings of frustration, irritability, and anger.
Feeling guilty or ashamed after watching porn.
Low sex drive.
Neglecting responsibilities and personal care.
Having uncontrollable intense urges to watch pornography.
Constantly having intrusive thoughts.
Building toxic fantasies.
Having irrational concepts of sex.
Being more demanding with your partner.
Relationship dissatisfaction. 

Treatment For Porn Addiction

One common misconception about porn addiction is that people with a high sex drive and underlying disorders are more likely to get addicted.

However, porn is highly addictive and can affect anybody as there are various causes of porn addiction. But fortunately, several treatment methods are available to help treat problematic pornography use.

If you’re struggling with porn addiction, you can successfully overcome it with well-planned treatment strategies.

The following treatment methods focus on recognition, mindfulness, and acceptance to help you reduce your consumption of erotic material. 

Therapy 

In most cases of PPU, the addiction stems from co-occurring disorders. Seeking professional help from a therapist helps form a recovery plan focusing on eliminating compulsive behavior.

When you discover the core problem behind your addiction, it becomes easier to stick to the treatment method.

Besides this, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other forms of psychotherapy help manage compulsive behaviors to reduce an individual’s constant need to consume pornographic material. 

Holistic Approach

Holistic treatment focuses on the entire body. It is a combination of complementary medicines and traditional therapy.

The ultimate goal of a holistic approach is to improve an individual’s overall health and well-being. The holistic approach features various treatment techniques, such as the following. 

• Personal training
• Hypnosis
Spiritual counseling
Education on lifestyle changes
Homeotherapy
Naturopathy
Massage therapy

The primary goal of holistic treatments is to make the patients aware of their addiction and its negative impact on their life. As a result, dedicated individuals learn to take responsibility and work on themselves for long-term recovery.

Moreover, some people addicted to porn initially start consuming erotic material out of boredom. The holistic treatment helps them find productive hobbies to decrease their time spent watching porn.

Medications

Various underlying mental health problems and distress can cause addiction. Some FDA-approved medications treat underlying co-occurring disorders to reduce an individual’s consumption of pornographic material.

For example, if someone watches porn to distract themselves from anxiety-causing thoughts, various medicines can help tackle anxiety, thereby reducing pornographic use.

Similarly, many other underlying problems cause the progression and dependency on porn. Some pharmacological treatments for porn addiction include: 

• Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
• Opioid antagonists
Mood stabilizers

Support Groups 

Support groups and porn addiction programs consist of behavioral training which empowers an individual to overcome porn addiction.

Such support groups feature peer meetings which help people share their experiences with others who have the same problem. In addition, the members support each other through encouragement.

When a person with porn addiction realizes that they are not alone, it helps them communicate effectively to find the root cause behind their addiction. As a result, people can achieve long-term recovery from porn addiction through effective communication and mutual support. 

Peer support also positively impacts individuals’ personal views, validates their feelings, and helps them overcome issues. This prevents risky behavior, interventions, and harm.

Here are some examples of support groups for porn addicts. 

• Sexaholics Anonymous
• Sexual Addicts Anonymous
Porn Addicts Anonymous
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous

These are free programs that help individuals take accountability for themselves. Remember that recognition and acceptance is the first step toward recovery.

A support group can help you recognize and accept your addiction to help you achieve long-term recovery success.

Key Takeaway 

Porn may be powerfully addictive, but fortunately, various treatment methods can help you overcome it. If you notice any signs and symptoms of excessive pornography use, it is best to consult professional help to achieve recovery.

Seeking help from others may make you guilty or ashamed. But remember that medical assistance is better than isolation as it will help resolve various problems resulting from porn addiction.

About Author

Catherine Cole

Catherine’s world revolves around coffee, cooking, writing, and traveling. She considers herself a coffee connoisseur of sorts and is always up for a cup of joe. When she’s not writing or cooking up a storm, you can find her trying hard to impress Cleo - her kitty, who is also the queen of her home and heart.