General enquiries: 0800 326 5559
International: 0330 333 8188

Porn Addiction

Porn Addiction

With the rise in technology and easy accessibility to it, there is an ever-increasing rise of people developing porn addiction.

Due to the intimate nature of the problem, many feel ashamed to discuss it. As with any illness, it’s important that people seek support, especially with the damaging consequences it can have throughout a person’s life.

Is porn addiction a real addiction?

The concept of porn addiction is a controversial topic with conflicting evidence to support both sides of the argument.

Behavioural psychologists view porn addiction as a real issue.(1) For those living with it who experience the rippling effects on their behaviours and life, it’s usually a very distressing problem.

At OK Rehab we recognise porn addiction as an addiction. When a person is consumed by compulsive behaviours and has lost control, which goes on to result in negative consequences impacting the rest of a person’s life, there is a problem that needs to be treated.

Addiction is a disease that affects a person’s reward centres in the brain. The effects of this mean that the person comes to associate certain substances or behaviours with particular desirable effects.

There are two types of addiction:

  • Chemical addiction
  • Behavioural addiction

Chemical addiction is what is generally thought of when the topic of addiction is raised. This is what is demonstrated when people are addicted to substances such as alcohol and drugs. Substance addiction is a disease of the brain – the structure of the brain is altered and the bodily systems are affected.

For the majority, viewing porn activates the same reward regions in the brain.(2) This is how it can create addiction.

Porn addiction, often defined as a behavioural addiction, usually comes under the umbrella term “Hypersexual Disorder”. This includes “excessive masturbation, cybersex, pornography use, sexual behaviour with consenting adults, telephone sex, strip club visitation”.(3)

What is a behavioural addiction?

Behavioural addiction is what occurs when a person compulsively repeats a particular behaviour. There is a lack of control. Even in the face of wide-ranging and very damaging consequences, the behaviour is repeated.

This is also demonstrated in people who are compulsive shoppers or people with gambling addictions. Despite the huge debt that might accrue, the behaviour continues.

Porn addiction is where a person might not be able to stop thinking sexual thoughts, watching porn and also masturbating regularly.

The causes of a porn addiction

There are various factors that influence the development of porn addiction. Usually, when a person first starts watching porn, it’s a casual event. However, the effect that watching porn has on the brain, activating the release of dopamine, means that for some it creates a “high”.

This high can force a person to seek that emotion again. As when a person takes a drug and hopes to get the feeling of that “first high”, the same high feeling can occur instigating a porn addiction.

Some of the factors that increase the risk of a porn addiction developing are as follows:

  • Early exposure. Many people with this type of addiction have accessed porn at an early age
  • Linked to mental health. Quite often, people with sexual addictions will also have mental health problems
  • Relationship problems. When there are difficulties in a relationship and a person turns to porn as a way to gain sexual pleasure, it can result in a repetition of the behaviour
  • Brain chemistry. In terms of addiction, it tends to run in families, although porn addiction might not, addiction itself might and this can mean that a person’s natural brain chemistry might incline them towards seeking out rewarding feelings through addictive behaviours

Symptoms you’re addicted to porn

There are various signs to look out for if you’re concerned that you or someone you love might be addicted to porn.

These include the following:

  • Ignoring other responsibilities and prioritising watching porn
  • Using porn as a coping mechanism when you’re experiencing low moods or feelings of anxiety
  • Thinking about watching porn all of the time
  • Watching more and more porn
  • Noticing that the type of porn being watched is increasingly extreme
  • Feeling ashamed after watching porn
  • Wanting to stop watching porn but being unable to
  • Keeping the act of watching porn a secret from a romantic partner
  • Watching porn in inappropriate places, such as at work

The consequences of porn addiction

As with any addiction, porn addiction comes with a huge range of negative consequences. The psychosocial impact can be very damaging. Many will find a compulsion to watch it all the time, even at inappropriate times. This can create difficulties in relationships with others.

The person with the addiction might find that their sex life is no longer satisfying. This can negatively affect romantic relationships and cause intimacy issues.

Overall, it can also lower a person’s self-esteem as they become caught in a negative cycle of behaviour.

Treatment options for porn addiction

For those living with porn addiction, the psychological withdrawal of trying to stop can be very uncomfortable. It can result in mood swings, irritability, and people might also start to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to try and control these feelings.

It’s important to access support to deal with addiction. There are many treatment options throughout the UK. Each type of treatment covers different aspects of a person’s mind and life in order to create the optimum space for positive change and recovery.

1. Psychotherapy treatments

A behavioural addiction benefits greatly from receiving behavioural therapies. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in particular is an evidence-based therapy that supports thousands of people to recover every day.

It focuses on what thoughts trigger behaviours and provides exercises that work towards rewiring the neurological pathways in the brain. This creates new associations and healthier behaviours.

2. Alternative therapies

As porn addiction is usually a symptom of more deep-rooted issues, which can be distressing for people to face, alternative therapies are very beneficial.

Yoga, mindfulness, reiki, massage, and equine therapy provide safe spaces for a person to become comfortable and relaxed. The goal is to be content in the present without the feeling of “needing” to return to the negative habit.

3. Relationship and/or sex therapy

For those who are in relationships, intimacy and connection can be very damaged by porn addiction. In this instance, a relationship or sex therapist can facilitate the rebuilding of the relationship through talking therapies.

4. Lifestyle changes

Through therapies and counselling, new ideas will be identified to support you in recovery. Lifestyle changes often make all the difference in sustaining the healing process. Through developing new connections to others and starting new hobbies, old habits can be overcome.

5. Group work

12 Step groups introduce a space for recovery for those addicted to porn. Through sharing and connection to others in similar positions, many gain strength through understanding. This supports a person to maintain a healthy outlook towards their behaviours.

Can I be treated for porn addiction if I have a mental health problem?

When both porn addiction and mental health conditions exist, it’s known as a dual diagnosis. Private health clinics understand that addictions often come hand-in-hand with mental health problems. Whether living with anxiety, OCD, depression, bipolar, PTSD, or schizophrenia, all people are welcome to receive treatments at private clinics.

Professionals are experienced and invested in treating the whole person. This means treating mental health as well as addiction.

How to access support for porn addiction

If you or a loved one requires support for a porn addiction you can access treatment. The majority of towns in the UK have options. The OK Rehab team has extensive knowledge of the provision throughout the country and can advise. Call us today to find out more.

Final thought

Porn addiction is a challenging behavioural addiction that many people face. With easy accessibility online, it’s likely this type of addiction will increase. The repercussions of porn addiction can be very damaging to the person and the people they’re close to.

Treatment is available and should be sought as soon as possible in order for optimum results. To begin your journey of recovery, contact OK Rehab to find out about the treatment clinics in your area.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3354400/
  2. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0102419
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24001295/#:~:text=Sexual%20addiction%2F%20hypersexual%20disorder%20is,club%20visitation%2C%20and%20other%20behaviors.

No Widget, set it on widget!

Get Help Today

Don’t go through the progress of recovery alone. Get in touch with someone who can help.

Request a Call

Recent Posts

Subscribe

Subscribe to our email list to get the latest information right to your inbox