Pornography Addiction – A Definition
Pornography addiction isn’t officially classified as an addiction in its own right, but is considered a subset of sex addiction according to the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V (DSM-5). In essence, pornography addiction can be defined as: an excessive viewing of pornography that interferes with normal daily behaviour.
Pornography Addiction – The Science Behind the Addiction
The effects of Pornography Addiction on the brain are similar in many ways to substance-based addictions such as cocaine. Like with many drugs, prolonged exposure to a stimulus such as pornography leads individuals to gain increased tolerance levels – thus leading them to gain addictive tendencies towards the substance.
If this behaviour happens over a considerable period of time, it can lead to change within the brain’s chemistry and how it reacts to similar situations in the future. In the case of pornography addiction, this typically means the person will seek progressively more ‘extreme’ content to view in order to gain the high they desire; this means that the individual’s brain has been altered sufficiently enough by their continued use of pornography that it requires more of a stimulus to get ‘high’. If left unchecked, this can eventually lead to real-world promiscuity and all the negative consequences that may come with it, for example, STD’s and failure to hold romantic relationships.
This would be a good explainer video to embed here if possible, similar to what psychguides.com have done.
Pornography Addiction Treatment at The Rutland Centre
While pornography addiction has grown rapidly in recent decades due to the Internet allowing increased accessibility, it is nothing new to the Rutland Centre.
We have been treating behavioural addictions such as sex addiction and pornography addiction for decades. Our highly trained staff of counsellors have helped in many cases where multiple forms of addiction are present in the individual, often both behavioural and substance-based.
We have various treatments available for behavioural addictions such as pornography addiction – these treatments range from personal counselling sessions to full residential care. With over 37 years of experience in addiction and high abstinence rates, we’re confident we can help those that need it most. For more information, please see our treatment services page.
Pornography Addiction Symptoms
As mentioned, the most obvious sign of this addiction is an excessive viewing of pornography. However, there are other signs and symptoms to be aware of – especially due to the fact that heavy pornography on a daily basis can often change behavioural patterns and negatively affect relationships. Here are some symptoms to look out for:
- Escalating amounts of time spent viewing pornography, with hours and sometimes even days lost to pornography addiction.
- Viewing pornography with progressively more intense or bizarre sexual content – typically meaning there is an increasing tolerance level to porn developing within the individual.
- Continued pornography use despite negative consequences for themselves or those around them.
- Lying about, keeping secrets about, and covering up the nature and extent of pornography use from loved ones.
- Anger or irritability if confronted about the nature or extent of porn use.
- A sense of emotional distress, or feeling of withdrawal, when access to pornography is cut-off.
- Compulsive masturbation.
- Sexual dysfunction. For example, impotence or premature ejaculation.
- Use of pornography negatively affecting sexual relationships. For example, it is more difficult for the individual to become aroused by their partner.
- Romantic or sexual behaviour changes. For example, becomes more aggressive, dominant, or emotionally disconnected.
- Escalation from simply viewing pornography to anonymous or paid sexual encounters – this behaviour can take place both in an online or offline environment. For example, paying for private webcam encounters online or engaging in prostitution offline.
Getting Help for Pornography Addiction – Contact Information
We at the Rutland Centre have dealt with behavioural addictions such as pornography addiction for years - we can help. If you have any concerns about your own pornography viewing habits or those of a loved one, please pick up the phone to contact us. We are firmly of the opinion that, in Ireland in particular, people wait far too long to make the call to seek treatment for addiction. The first step in overcoming dependency is being able to recognise that it exists. Rehabilitation and change are much more attainable if treatment is sought at an early stage.
Allow us to help you today - call (01) 494 6358. You may also want to visit our treatment services page for a list of the various treatments we have available.