Porn addiction is a behavioural dependence caused by dopamine released in the brain when looking at sexually stimulating material. It is related to sex addiction and is compulsive, with people who experience it finding they cannot control themselves, taking risks and accelerating the behaviour to achieve the same thrill.
Although an addiction to pornographic materials may seem much less harmful than a sex addiction, it can be very risky. People with this condition may suffer from unwanted consequences similar to more dangerous conditions.
The signs and symptoms of porn addiction are similar to other behavioural conditions, but there are some that stand out.
Although hiding the extent of addictive behaviour is common across all serious dependencies, it can be difficult to be sure with pornography addiction.
Although it is very common and increasingly accepted, most people don’t talk very openly about their pornography use, viewing it as something private. Many hide it from romantic partners and family, who might find it shameful or consider it sexual infidelity.
Lying about the consequences of porn misuse may be a clearer sign. If you are covering up financial problems, sexual dysfunction or criminal activities, you may be losing control of your porn use.
Many people with an addiction live in denial about their problem, and porn addiction is no exception. Because of the morally grey side of pornography, people might feel judged by loved ones. It is also a challenging subject to discuss with friends or family.
One of the quickest ways to identify a behavioural addiction is to try stopping the activity. Some addicted people may say they simply don’t want to take away something they enjoy. However, if something is causing you relationship or financial problems, it may be worth trying to stop just to be sure.
If you experience cravings, irritable behaviour, or feel anxious or depressed, then you may be having withdrawal symptoms. This is where your brain is accustomed to the dopamine increase of the activity, and it will take some time to rebalance your brain to feel this kind of enjoyment without porn stimulation.
Despite its relationship to sex addiction, porn overuse can lead to sexual problems. These include erectile dysfunction and trouble becoming aroused without pornography. The chemical change that excessive pornography causes in the brain can cause you to struggle to become aroused for real-life sexual situations.
Porn also creates an idealized version of sex with people who watch it too much, worried about their appearance and performance in comparison to porn. This causes stress and emotional damage to relationships between couples.
As with other addictions, people can use porn to self-medicate mental health problems. If you start watching porn to feel better, less bored or lonely, then it can help temporarily. Long-term self-medicating is only delaying and, in some cases, makes mental health issues worse.
This is a big problem with porn addiction as it is bad for self-esteem and social isolation. Also, biologically the hormones released by partners for bonding after sexual activities are released after watching porn and masturbating. However, in the absence of a bonding partner, these hormones
Many inpatient and outpatient rehab centres that help with porn addiction offer antidepressants and cognitive behaviour therapy to improve mental health, so there is less need to self-meditate.
Some behaviour addictions are harder to deal with than others. It is clearer cut for addictions such as gambling and computer games, which can be reasonably cut out of your life. Addictions to other things, such as food and sex, are challenging because you need to eat to survive, and your sexuality is part of you.
Abstinence is the approach of very few, usually religious, treatment programs for sex and pornography addiction. Christian rehab for porn addiction may help some people with sex-related issues as they are often separated by gender. Mental health rehabs tend to focus on dealing with the root cause of the addiction.
Usually, behaviour addictions are the result of psychological trauma, negative associations or self-esteem. By understanding why you use porn to excess, you can get back control and start making positive steps away from your addiction.
Medical detox isn’t usually used for porn or other behaviour addictions because they are not physical addictions like alcohol or opiate drugs. However, you will still get a prescription if the doctors think you are depressed, anxious or not able to sleep. This will help you in the first few weeks of rehab by preventing the worst withdrawal symptoms.
As rehabs are abstinent environments, you will not be allowed to access any porn while you are staying in rehab. This lets you detox in a safe environment where you will not be tempted to continue your addictive behaviour. It allows your brain to regain its balance of dopamine, opening the door for you to make meaningful changes and find new sources of happiness.
CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) is the most recognised therapy for behavioural addictions throughout the world. This treatment spans individual and group counselling as well as role-playing and holistic therapy. Holistic treatment often involves finding alternative ways to enjoy yourself and find peace and fulfilment away from your addiction.
CBT helps you to change your thinking patterns about your use of porn and sex in general. For example, you have a terrible day and are feeling down, so you think porn will make you feel better. CBT helps you to change that choice and choose a healthier option, like meeting friends or enjoying a hobby or exercise. This change may be hard at first, but slowly, your brain will change its reaction to help you find pleasure and enjoyment from things other than porn use.
There are apps and software to block yourself or a loved one from accessing porn from all devices. However, this only works if you are willing and ready to use them, as they can be taken off, and a determined person will always find a way.
Talking to a therapist about the reasons for your addiction can be a huge step in the right direction. This will help you to understand why you are choosing porn as your outlet for enjoyment and sexual activity.
Remojo is one of the best-known porn-blocking apps for people who want to stop accessing materials to curb their addiction. It not only blocks access to porn on your devices but also offers advice and exercises to help you choose better ways of enjoying yourself both sexually and emotionally.
Rehab gives those who want to overcome an addiction and their loved ones a chance to relieve the daily pressures and find a way out. Being in an abstinent environment can help to reset the brain chemistry that leads to dopamine imbalance.
Slowly, your brain will recover, and if you simultaneously work on the root reasons for your addiction, then you can move on from your addiction when you return home.
Are you ready to get help for your addiction? Do you want to get help for a loved one? Regardless of what you need, contact us today so we can help.