Porn Addiction | Signs, Causes, and Treatment

Porn addiction is the excessive consumption of erotic material stemming from compulsive behavior. It is detrimental to a person’s quality of life as it interferes with their professional and personal life.

Compulsive pornography use is a controversial topic in the medical community, with many psychotherapists refusing to accept it as a well-defined psychological disorder.

But porn addiction consists of emotional dependency, interference in one’s daily life, and ability to function. Therefore, problematic pornography use (PPU) is categorized under addiction. Many doctors consider it to be a hypersexual disorder.

The prevalence of this disorder is about 3-6% in our society. But it is difficult to determine the exact rates due to the lack of formal evidence and definitive criteria for diagnosis.

Due to this, porn addiction is not categorized under a disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders.

But this condition affects numerous people. So let us look into the signs, causes, and treatment of pornography addiction.

Signs of Porn Addiction

Just like other addictions, there are several indications of porn causing problems in your life. The most common signs of porn addiction include:

  • Excessive viewing.
  • Intense urges.
  • Feelings of guilt and shame.
  • Irritation and aggression when unable to access pornographic material and an inability to stop.

Here is the detail of the signs and symptoms of porn addiction.

Intense Urges to Watch Porn

One of the many symptoms of porn addiction includes the intense urge to watch porn. These urges contribute to excessive viewing of graphic content, which leads to progression and dependency.

An individual increases the time spent watching porn. With time, the person may consume more violent and graphic porn to achieve the same effect.

Sexual Dissatisfaction

Porn addiction can cause a person to lose interest in sex with their partner due to the unrealistic sexual portrayal and fantasies shown in porn.

People with porn addiction also lose their sex drive and experience sexual dissatisfaction, which can lead to irritability and aggression.

Engagement in Risky Behavior

Another common symptom of porn addiction is engaging in risky behavior. For example, a person may watch porn at the workplace, at school, or public places, which can put them at disciplinary risk.

Feelings of Shame and Guilt

A person with porn addiction may feel guilty, ashamed, or frustrated about watching porn. However, despite these feelings, the individual continues to watch porn and engages in addictive behavior.

Inability to Stop

People with porn addiction may recognize their compulsive behavior but cannot stop. Multiple failed attempts to stop are amongst the most common signs of porn addiction.

Potential Causes of Porn Addiction

Experts who believe in the existence of porn addiction claim that several causes contribute to porn addiction, its development, progression, and dependency.

The primary cause behind porn addiction is a change in brain chemistry, easily accessible erotic content, and underlying conditions such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from emotional or physical abuse. Therefore, porn addiction is caused by interconnected factors.

Here are the potential causes of addiction to erotic material.

  • Underlying mental health disorders. For example, psychological mood disorders can trigger porn addiction.
  • Cultural norms that people can only follow specific patterns in life contribute to porn addiction because people discover different sexualities and ideas and stay fixated on them.
  • Ease of accessibility to explicit content on the internet.
  • Biological factors such as a change in brain chemicals increase porn addiction.
  • Unique physiology and genetics make people susceptible to being addicted to pleasurable activities.

Porn Addiction Treatment

There are common misconceptions about porn addiction that it only becomes problematic for people who are more likely to get addicted or for people with a high sex drive to be addicted to porn. But unfortunately, anyone can get addicted to consuming erotic material.

But several treatments are available for people looking to treat problematic pornography use. So if you struggle with porn addiction, the good news is that you can overcome it with various treatment strategies.

If your ultimate goal is to reduce your consumption of porn, then recognition, acceptance, and mindfulness are amongst the first steps toward treatment.

Psychotherapy, medications, and vital lifestyle changes can help you overcome porn addiction. If you notice any signs and symptoms of porn addiction, you should talk to a therapist to devise a treatment strategy.

Here are the various treatment methods to overcome pornography addiction.

Psychotherapy

Reaching out to a therapist is one of the most effective ways to overcome porn addiction, as the recovery plan aims to eliminate compulsive behavior.

Most of the time, porn addiction stems from a co-occurring disorder. Therefore, finding the primary cause behind addiction is the foremost step of therapy.

Besides this, approaches like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) help reduce and manage compulsive behaviors to reduce consumption rates.

Lifestyle Changes

Many people start watching porn out of boredom. Therefore, it is necessary for such individuals to find productive hobbies to decrease the time they spend watching porn.

Medication

Some people use porn to cope with distress or underlying mental health conditions. Some medications can treat the underlying disorders to reduce the consumption of porn.

For example, if an individual views porn as a distraction from anxious thoughts, then treating anxiety can tackle the problem of pornographic addiction.

Similarly, various underlying issues lead to the progression and dependency of porn addiction. Medicine-assisted treatment can help resolve co-occurring problems to help a person overcome porn addiction.

Porn Addiction Programs

A porn addiction program features behavioral training techniques that empower you to beat porn addiction.

Conclusion

Porn addiction has adverse long-term effects such as psychological and relational issues. In addition, if left untreated, compulsive behavior can interfere with a person’s daily life.

People addicted to porn often feel shame and guilt when looking for treatment. Therefore you must realize that acknowledgment and recognition can help you treat porn addiction.

If you notice any signs and symptoms of pornography addiction, it’s best to consult a therapist who can recognize the underlying problems and form a treatment plan.