Internet pornography has yielded numerous benefits for its producers, such as generating high-income jobs, revenue, and opportunities to make influencer careers. However, the byproduct or the external cost of pornography use has led to many people creating a porn habit. Consuming more and more internet pornography will lead this porn habit to become a pornography addiction.
Pornography addiction can be an isolating and overwhelming experience. It can feel like you’re stuck in a cycle that is hard to break, leaving you feeling helpless and ashamed. This feeling leads individuals to lose control of their feelings and wishes, as they allow pornography to take control of their lives.
The truth is porn addiction is real, and it affects millions of people worldwide every day. Many addicts of internet pornography struggle with true intimacy in a relationship, which could eventually lead to sexual addiction.
If this story sounds like your situation, know there is hope for recovery from porn addiction and improved mental health. In this article, we will explore the signs of porn addiction, discuss how porn impacts your mental health, and provide tips on how to start your journey toward healing from porn addiction.
What are the signs you have a Pornography addiction?
1) You spend a significant amount of time watching porn daily
Like other addictions, a porn addiction also triggers those sections of your brain that give you a sense of ecstasy through the depiction of lust, sex, and strong desire.
You spend so much time watching porn that it interferes with your daily activities (work, social life, etc.). Any activity is preceded or followed by thoughts of giving yourself that high of watching porn. The porn habit grows into an addiction when all you think of is that high at the end of the day.
2) No matter your efforts to control porn addiction, you fail
This is because porn activates the same reward pathways in the brain as drugs or alcohol, leading to a need for more intense sexual images or activities over time. This creates a vicious cycle that requires more porn and substantial arousal levels to achieve satisfaction.
Thus, it becomes increasingly difficult to struggle out of this addiction. It is also challenging to curb this addiction independently (without external help) because of how your brain works.
As mentioned below, to quit porn, you must find hope in addiction recovery methods like support groups.
3) You feel hopeless and irritated when you’re unable to watch porn
Some porn addicts may use porn to escape reality or cope with pain, depression, low self-esteem, or loneliness. This means that porn addiction can be more than just a physical need for porn; it may also become an emotional crutch.
When such addicts cannot get their porn “fix,” they may feel hopeless and irritable as they try to cope with withdrawal symptoms or intense cravings. Such symptoms crawl into everyday decision-making, causing you to hesitate, be less aware, and ultimately struggle more. The negative consequences can extend to your relationship, marriage, and life.
4) You feel shame after watching porn
As porn addiction continues to grow, you become aware of the shame associated with it. It’s an even more taboo topic than drugs and other addictions. Thus, addicts feel that if anyone were to discover their addiction, they would feel a lot of shame.
This acts as a deterrent to talking about their addiction or dealing with it orderly. Instead, the fear and shame association leads to addicts hiding their porn addiction in a better way. They become more concerned with hiding their addictions and lies than being there for their close friends.
5) Your sex life is affected
When porn addiction takes hold of a person’s life, it can significantly impact their sex life. In some cases, porn addiction can lead to a decreased libido or an inability to become aroused without porn. Porn addiction can also lead you to lose romantic and sexual interest in your partner as your main sexual activity becomes viewing porn.
Many pornography addicts may seek to engage in extreme or dangerous activities to achieve the same level of arousal that porn provides.
No matter the case, porn addiction can severely damage a person’s sex life and impede their ability to form healthy relationships with sexual partners.
6) You have a history of other addictions
People with porn addiction often have a history of suffering from other compulsive behaviors, such as gambling, overeating, and excessive spending.
This shows that such individuals often seek compulsive patterns in their life, and being addicted gives them a specific “fix” and purpose. To gain freedom from this pattern, you don’t just have to read the latest articles and be aware of the addiction, but you must actively seek out a porn addiction treatment plan with a trained therapist or in a support group setting.
You might like: The 43 Best Spiritual Healing Quotes for Instant Self Therapy
What do addictions mean for your mental health?
Porn addiction can have severe implications on one’s mental health. First and foremost, porn addiction can lead to depression. This often occurs because people become so reliant on porn that they neglect other aspects of their life, such as work, relationships, hobbies, etc. As a result of this neglect, porn addicts may feel isolated, lonely, and worthless.
In addition, porn addiction can lead to a person feeling guilt and shame as they may feel guilty for their porn consumption. This guilt and shame can contribute to an increase in depressive symptoms. Lastly, porn addiction can impact the addict’s ability to trust others simply because they hide their addiction. These negative consequences of pornography addiction add up and take an enormous toll on mental health.
The mental toll of pornography addiction is even more immense when the addict starts to consume from a very young age. In these cases, porn addiction can lead to long-term trauma, distorted perceptions of sex and relationships, and difficulty forming healthy relationships. Their perception of sex is so unreal that they are often not aroused from their first sexual experiences, which often leads to a search for a “worthy” sexual experience. This constant and unquenching thirst can lead to sexual addiction too.
You might like: Emotional Permanence Explained & 5 Top Tips on How to Cope
Sex addiction vs. Porn Addiction: The difference
Pornography Addiction and Sexual Addiction are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but there is a distinct difference between the two. I have also used them very distinctly throughout this article.
Pornography addiction is an addiction to pornographic material and can encompass any type of porn, including written porn, audio porn, or video porn. On the other hand, sexual addiction is an obsessive focus on sex-related activities. It can include porn addiction and other activities, such as being overly flirtatious with strangers, cheating on a partner, or engaging a person in unsafe sexual behaviors. All of these attempts to fulfill the abnormal sexual desires arising from sexual addiction.
The critical distinction between porn addiction and sex addiction is that porn addiction focuses solely on porn. In contrast, sex addiction has more to do with compulsively seeking sexual gratification. Pornography addiction can lead to sexual addiction.
You might like: 8 Incredible Ways Spiritual Counseling Can Transform your Life
How Do you Get pornography addiction?
Pornography addiction can start from the first moment someone watches porn. To some, it is a shameful act they hope would never do again. However, to some people, it gives a euphoric feeling as any drug would. They would start slowly, watching softcore imagery and videos and then moving on to new and more graphic stuff as their interest builds.
Slowly but surely, this addiction pattern builds, and the brain works so that it needs to access and look at new information daily.
It comes to a point where people view porn so much that it becomes a daily pattern. This can make it so that they need to look at more porn to feel the same level of excitement. Over time, they might become too dependent on porn and forget important things like work, friends, and hobbies.
This addiction can also hurt their mental health, making them feel guilty, lonely, and sad. People with porn addiction need to get help in the form of various online resources and support groups,
Overcoming pornography addiction – 7 helpful tips:
1) Porn addiction treatment in the form of therapy
Getting help for porn addiction is essential. Support groups and individual therapy are available to people struggling with porn addiction. Additionally, there are self-help books and online resources that can provide information on how to manage porn addiction and learn healthy coping skills.
The best thing you can do to get free from this addiction is to go to a licensed therapist, as they know the best cognitive methods to help you cope with it by leading a better mental and physical lifestyle.
2) Porn addiction medicine
Porn addiction medicine is a type of treatment for pornography addiction that combines behavioral therapy with pharmacotherapy. It aims to reduce the amount of porn use and its associated negative consequences and increase porn abstinence.
Behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, mindfulness-based approaches, and other psychotherapy forms can help addicts manage their porn consumption and develop healthier coping strategies.
On the other hand, medications such as SSRIs and anti-anxiety drugs may also be prescribed by a doctor depending on the severity of porn addiction. Remember, if you sense that you cannot find healing in other resources, then to free your marriage, relationships, and life from this addiction, you should go to a doctor and get this medicine.
3) Join a support group or accountability group
Joining a support group or accountability group can be very beneficial for addicts seeking freedom. This provides an outlet where they can express their struggle and receive guidance from others going through the same thing. In these groups, members can share how they got into this addiction, listen to other views and how they got over it, find healing, and learn to take control of their own stories.
4) Start challenging your beliefs
Understanding the Core of Your Pornography Addiction is essential to challenge your brain and help your life.
Start challenging the beliefs that porn makes you feel good and will satisfy your needs. Porn distracts from their feelings of emptiness, loneliness, or stress.
You need to ask yourself why you watch porn and what’s in it for you? This will help you address your fear, addiction, and the healing process. You will also start to understand that if someone is to discover this addiction, then it won’t be shameful, as you would actively be trying to sort it out.
Remind yourself that freedom is only possible if you take control of your body and story by cutting out the fake desire and lust projected by pornography.
5) Redirect your sexual temptation elsewhere
Quitting porn will not be easy, but it can be made simpler if you redirect your energies elsewhere. Lowering pornography use can be helped if you direct your sexual energy toward a real-life relationship instead of the 2D lust and desire triggered in your brain when viewing porn.
Take help from resources that train you to regain desire in a lost relationship. This way, you can make someone else’s life a bit happier. All the while, you can gain your healing too.
6) Acknowledge the negative consequences of porn in your personal life
People struggling with porn addiction may feel ashamed or embarrassed and have difficulty speaking up about their struggles. Still, it is essential to recognize that porn addiction is a real issue that can have serious negative life consequences.
These effects may include depression, stress, guilt, self-criticism, relationship problems, and even losing concentration on daily activities. On top of that, you lose desire in your existing sexual relationship, and in today’s world, with access to pornographic material so easy, you may never regain that desire. So, it is essential not to let your desire fade as that is a concrete way to gain freedom.
7) Mentally prepare to strengthen your self-control
Curing porn addiction requires overcoming the physical urges and triggers associated with porn and developing a healthy emotional and mental state to have the self-control to withstand going back to porn. Mental preparation is vital to strengthening self-control and setting yourself up for success.
First, you want to examine your thought patterns and beliefs around porn consumption. Recognize that porn does not answer your problems and will not provide long-term satisfaction or happiness.
Once you have acknowledged this, develop an alternative plan for when a porn craving arises. This could include exercising, calling friends, journaling, or reading an inspiring book. With these tools, you can ensure a balanced mental state without returning to porn.
You might like: Reactive Abuse & Narcissism: What Is It & How To Deal With It
Quitting porn addiction is challenging and requires physical and mental preparation. It involves acknowledging the negatives of porn in your personal life, challenging the beliefs that porn will make you feel good, redirecting sexual energy elsewhere, understanding the core of your porn addiction, and strengthening self-control with a plan of action for when cravings arise.
While it may seem daunting to tackle this issue alone, many resources are available to help people recover from porn addiction, such as support groups where they can express their struggles and receive guidance from others who have gone through similar experiences. With enough effort and dedication to recovery, anyone can regain control over their own story again.