Everlast Recovery Centers

Porn Addiction

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Defining Porn Addiction 

Behavioral addictions are still fairly new territory for mental health professionals and researchers. Porn addiction, one of the types of hypersexual disorders, is gaining wider acceptance in the mental health community. It’s estimated that hypersexual disorders affect three to six percent of Americans, but since there is not yet a formal definition of the disorder, it’s hard to gather exact data.1

The loss of control over the amount of sexually explicit material watched and compulsive viewing and using pornography are two of the most common signs of porn addiction.

Porn addiction behaviors continue despite the following impacts:1

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Time spent viewing pornography causes problems in leading a normal life.

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A lack of control over pornography viewing, including cravings and unsuccessful attempts at curbing exposure to porn.

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The cessation of participation in enjoyable activities and experiences.

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Compulsive acts of watching porn, despite the knowledge that it is harmful. 

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An important distinction with porn addiction is that the viewing of pornography is not mainly for sexual enjoyment, but as a way to counter stress and other types of emotional distress. Porn addiction is a consistent way to block the pain of mental health issues that stem from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or trauma from neglect or abuse, similar to that of drug and alcohol dependency.

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ICD-11 VS. DSM

In the summer of 2011, the World Health Organization formally recognized Compulsive Sexual Behavior Disorder for the latest edition of their diagnostic manual called ICD-11.2 Another diagnostic manual called DSM-V, which is more widely used, doesn’t recognize sex addictions.2

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Is Porn Addiction the Same as Sex Addiction?

Though similar sounding, pornography addiction, and sex addiction are different. Pornography addiction involves the compulsion to watch pornography for extended periods of time, impacting normal daily life. Sex addiction denotes the existence of compulsive sexual thoughts and the undeniable urge to perform sexual acts.3

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How Does Substance Abuse Relate to Compulsive Sexual Behavior?

Substance abuse and pornography addiction have close relationships

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Sex Addiction and Substance Abuse

A research study that looked at behavioral addictions found that among people with substance abuse problems, almost 10% also had an addiction to sex or pornography.1

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Sex Addiction and Addiction Interaction Disorder

Addiction Interaction Disorder is a term used to assess the experiences of adults with sex/porn addictions.4 It refers to the co-occurring addictions present in the individual and its effects. One aspect is when a pre-existing tolerance to a second addiction dampens the effects of the new addiction. Another effect is when one addiction provides an “excuse” for another addiction’s behaviors (for example, getting high before having casual sex).

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Consequences and Treatment

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Consequences of Porn Addiction

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Porn Addiction in a Marriage

Pornography addiction can interfere to such a large extent within a marriage that it can lead to separation and divorce.

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Teenage & Adolescent Porn Addiction

Research shows that 93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls were exposed to online porn before the age of 18.5 For many younger people, this exposure to pornography brings euphoric feelings. Unfortunately for some, exposure to porn becomes an addictive force that slowly eats away at productivity and creativity.

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Recognizing Porn Addiction

A pornography addiction may be present if there are some or all of the following signs:

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More and more time is spent watching porn

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More intense or unconventional sexual content is being viewed

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Pornography use continues despite negative consequences

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Attempts at stopping the habit are unseccessful 

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Deception, secretiveness, and covering up porn use

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Display of anger if confronted about porn use

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Progression from pornography viewing to illicit sexual encounters is evident

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Treatment Options

Treatment for substance abuse and alcohol use disorders with an added porn addiction can be complex. The main aspect of effective treatment is that all the disorders are treated at the same time.

Behavioral therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help. The CBT therapist works with the client to identify and change distorted thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors.

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Resources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6352245/
  2. https://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex/2019/07/finally-an-official-diagnosis-for-compulsive-sexual-behavior-disorder-sex-addiction/
  3. https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-sexual-addiction/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166750/
  5. https://www.unh.edu/ccrc/pdf/CV169.pdf

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