Pornography addiction in Utah is a real problem that many people fail to recognize. The signs and symptoms are pretty similar too. With the growing availability of pornographic material especially on the internet, the problem keeps escalating. It is estimated that in every second, 28,258 people are watching porn on the internet. Pornography makes up to 35% of all downloads. While this may not sound like a problem, it is sad to note that approximately 200,000 American citizens are struggling with pornography addiction.
Signs of Porn Addiction
- Prioritizing porn over other activities: People with pornography addiction tend to spend too much time viewing porn. When pornography takes over an individual’s life so much that they have little to no time for day to day activities, they may need to get help. Pornography addiction may cause one to lose track of time when they start viewing pornography material.
- Inability to stop viewing porn: Pornography may lead to loss of jobs, ruined relationships, poor sexual performance, and regret. These are all enough reason to quit. If, however, one is unable to stop viewing porn despite the consequences, they may be suffering from addiction.
- Guilt: Suffering from pornography addiction brings about feelings of shame and guilt. Most people with sexual addiction try as much as possible to keep their porn viewing habits secret. When confronted about it, they may deny and get upset or angry. If they admit it, they may still lie about the extent to which they use porn
- Viewing unusual content: As one continues to view porn, they start to develop an interest in the weird content. ‘Regular’ porn starts to appear too boring. They develop an interest in abnormal fetishes. They may even start viewing illegal material. This is a sign of pornography addiction
- Losing interest in sex: Since sex doesn’t usually measure up to scenes from pornography scenes, people with pornography addiction tend to lose interest. They may develop new, unusual tastes.
- Using pornography to deal with stress: People with pornography addiction tend to rely on pornography as a crutch to deal with stress. This is not only unhealthy but also a complete waste of time since the real cause of stress is not addressed.
Pornography Addiction Rehabilitation
The dangers posed by pornography addiction cannot be ignored. If untreated, it can cause; broken relationships, loss of finances, poor performance at school or work, low self-esteem, and mental disorders. Fortunately, there are proven ways to help patients recover.
The first step is admitting to the problem and acknowledging that one needs help. This may be one of the most difficult things to do but it is necessary. The next step is to contact Next Level Recovery for a personalized treatment plan. With proper treatment, those afflicted by pornography addiction should make a full recovery.
What is Pornography Addiction?
In much the same way as drugs and alcohol affect the reward centers of the brain, the exposure to pornographic imagery can create entrenched reward pathways that are cemented by the release of the brain chemical, dopamine. The sexual reward stimuli that someone viewing porn may experience is documented and stored in the brain, creating a chemically induced memory in the reward center.
Like other behavioral addictions, such as gambling, eating disorders, video game addiction, or shopping addiction, pornography viewing can turn into a compulsive sexual behavior. All addictions usually start by a desire to experience some kind of altered state, whether it is seeking a euphoric high through drugs, getting to the next level of a video game, enjoying sexual gratification using porn, winning at Black Jack, or finding an incredible bargain online. Once the “high” associated with these experiences is experienced as pleasurable the brain will seek to repeat the experience.
Regarding porn addiction, the continual exposure to the explicit material becomes an obsession. Individuals engaging in the behavior may seek fantasy sexual scenarios that are unlikely to occur in real life, and this quest can quickly get out of control. The individual will begin to allot increasing amounts of time to the pursuit of these sexual experiences, even as the negative consequences become apparent.
The porn industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that attracts about 40 million adults to regularly visit the vast number of porn sites on the Internet. In addition to computers, smartphones and tablets are the latest tools available for mobile access to Internet pornography.
How to Tell if You Have a Pornography Addiction
There are specific signs that accompany all types of addiction, including compulsive use of pornography. These signs might include:
- Obsessed with sexually explicit materials and online porn sites
- Spending more time viewing pornography, or more explicit forms of pornography as tolerance increases
- Withdrawing socially in favor of spending time viewing porn
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Loss of interest in usual activities and hobbies
- Secretive behavior, hiding the activity from others
- Begin to experience sexual dysfunction in real life relationship
- Become emotionally unavailable or detached from significant other, destruction of emotional intimacy with mate
- Attempt to stop viewing pornography, but cannot
- Experience hypersexual cravings prior to using pornography
- Experience feelings of shame and guilt
- Feeling hostile or irritable after using porn
- Use of porn at work
When the use of pornography begins to impair normal daily functioning and interfere in significant relationships it has become a problem.
How Porn Addiction Impacts Relationships
Pornography warps the natural beauty of physical intimacy by distracting the person with fantasy-like scenarios that often involve perversions or multiple partners. The individual addicted to porn becomes desensitized to a normal sexual experience with their mate. They may no longer feel satisfied with “regular” sexuality as they become increasingly drawn into the sordid porn world.
This can have a devastating impact on intimacy within a relationship or marriage. Porn drives an invisible wedge between the partners. The person addicted to pornography begins to favor self-satisfying behaviors instead of the actual physical intimacy with their mate. This can lead to emotional distance and hurt feelings. The person being ignored in favor of porn often becomes insecure and suspicious, not understanding what has caused their mate to lose interest in them sexually. Pornography can disrupt a marriage so the extent that it may lead to divorce.
Treatment for Pornography Addiction
Because pornography addiction has so much in common with drug and alcohol addiction it is useful to seek treatment for the disorder through an addiction recovery program. These programs have the expertise to guide the individual toward making fundamental changes in behavior patterns. They have a wide range of psychotherapies that can be helpful for someone with a porn addiction. Some of these therapies include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is the primary type of therapy used for treating pornography addiction. CBT helps clients take a mindful look at the thoughts and triggers that precede the porn viewing. The client then challenges the thought distortions and replaces them with an alternate response.
- Couples therapy: Interpersonal therapy allows couples to discuss any underlying issues or conflicts that might exist in the relationship. By working through these issues together, underlying anger issues or emotional pain that may be driving the obsessive need for pornography can be resolved and healed.
- Psychodynamic therapy: This type of therapy takes a deeper look into past experiences, examining such possible underlying issues as childhood trauma or sexual abuse.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT is a type of mindfulness-based therapy that teaches clients interpersonal skills that help them to learn to accept inner experiences, such as urges and arousal, and to replace the porn viewing reflex with activities more in line with one’s value system.
Some individuals might benefit from holistic therapies that compliment the psychotherapy, especially if stress is a trigger for porn. Stress reducing activities such as meditation, exercise, or yoga can add an additional layer of therapy. These activities can be incorporated in to the weekly routine to help manage the stress trigger after the treatment program is completed.
Identifying the triggers for the behavioral compulsion is an intrinsic part of treating the addiction. Some individuals may seek out porn when they are feeling anxious or stressed, bored, lonely, ignored, or emotionally mistreated. By recognizing the triggers the client can begin to respond to the trigger with an alternative, healthy behavioral response. Knowing the triggers can also help prevent relapse.
Some individuals might have a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as depression or an anxiety disorder. If a dual diagnosis is present, it is important to receive treatment for both disorders simultaneously for the best recovery outcome. If the mental health disorder is not addressed, the porn-seeking behavior is likely to continue.
Get Pornography Addiction Rehabilitation at Next Level Recovery
If you recognize your problem and feel the need to start the journey back to a healthy life, contact Next Level Recovery. We are a mental health counseling and recovery treatment center in Utah. At Next Level Recovery, we deal with addictions of all kind and depression and offer to counsel. We help those with addictions overcome guilt and shame and treat our clients with love, dignity, and respect. We offer free assessments, financing, and personalized program. If you fail to treat addiction as early as possible, it may end up having long-term effects on your life.