Addicted to Porn: What It’s All About

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June 1, 2021

Entertainment celebrity Andra Day opened up publicly in a recent post. Star of “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” Day realized she needed to tackle her addiction before taking on this leading role. She knew that “any element of sexualization” would interfere with her work. So she dealt with her disorder. Now in recovery, this actress and singer let the world know that she had suffered from porn addiction and sex addiction.

She is not alone in these struggles. There are different forms of addiction disorder. Not all of them adhere to a model of physical dependence and withdrawal. This other space is the realm of behavioral addiction. American Addiction Centers (AAC) explains. “Behavioral addiction can occur with all the negative consequences in a person’s life minus the physical issues faced by people who compulsively engage in drug and alcohol abuse.”man at computer struggling with porn addiction

A word in the last sentence is the defining feature – “compulsively.” It’s an urge to engage in an activity despite potential damaging repercussions. That is the mark of any addiction, including the behavioral kind. “The person may find the behavior rewarding psychologically or get a ‘high’ while engaged in the activity,” notes AAC. Afterwards guilt, remorse or a feeling of being overwhelmed may set in. But is that enough to stop forever? No. Breaking this habit is not a simple matter. It typically requires professional intervention.

What Is Porn Addiction?  

Porn addiction, as a medical entity, is limited in its formal scope. You may be wondering why. The reason stems from the lack of an official diagnosis of it by the American Psychiatric Association. Without definitive criteria, mental health professionals do not have the authoritative means to designate it clinically. Yet, it exists; and it applies to actions that can be as destructive as other forms of addiction.

A working definition helps frame the issue. “Porn addiction refers to a person becoming emotionally dependent on pornography to the point that it interferes with their daily life, relationships, and ability to function.” How prevalent is it? A 2019 study set out to answer that question. It estimated that 3-6% of the population suffers from porn addiction. Keep in mind though the drawback here; pinpointing the extent is made complicated by not having a formal classification for it.

Even so, there are those who speculate that porn addiction may be “quite common.” Doctors who believe so consider porn addiction a hypersexual disorder or sex addiction.

The Effects of Porn Addiction

 What happens when people are addicted to porn? Medical News Today lists the telltale signs. They include:

  • Shirking responsibilities to look at porn.
  • Feeling frustrated or ashamed of these activities but persisting anyway.
  • Wanting to break this cycle but not being able to do so.
  • Becoming discontented with their sex life and partner.
  • Engaging in this behavior in risky situations, such as while at work.
  • Turning to porn to deal with sadness, anxiety, insomnia, events and issues.
  • Spending progressively more money to view pornography, even using funds earmarked for essentials.
  • Needing increasingly more extreme pornography to achieve the same satisfaction.

Taking all of this into account, what are the main takeaways? The effects of porn addiction may be wide ranging; they may be devastating too. This disorder has the potential to negatively affect all aspects of life. It becomes an obsession and, in doing so, may ruin much that is near and dear to victims as well as their career and finances.

Treatment for Porn Addiction man having a breakthrough at a group therapy session for porn addiction

Professional assistance can help break the stronghold of porn addiction. Although the research community does not strictly recognize this condition, there are treatments for those struggling with this disorder. These entail a mix of approaches. The goal is to identify the root causes and mitigate them. As such, a regimen may include psychotherapy and relationship counseling. Pending the findings that come out during these processes, medication may be prescribed. A series of lifestyle changes also may flow from these interventions. Suggestions likely would seek ways to cut down on computer/phone use by engaging in other activities.

If you or a loved one is grappling with an addiction to pornography or sex, don’t suffer on your own. Professionals trained in this field are here to help. American Addiction Centers can start you on the path to recovery. Find out more here.

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