Just like any other form of addiction, pornography addiction can be devastating to you and your family. People often use porn as a form of escape and use it to deal with emotional pain. With repeated use, pornography replaces the intimate relationships in their life. With the widespread, easy access to internet porn, pornography addiction is a growing problem.
When seeking help for pornography addiction, it is important to seek help in a judgment-free environment. Shame can be a huge component of addictive behavior. Access to treatment without judgment or shame is necessary for success. Untreated pornography addiction can lead to emotional distress, a breakdown of relationships, and sexual dysfunction.
Addiction to pornography is often present alongside other disorders. When seeking addiction treatment, you may find you need treatment for alcohol abuse or mental health issues as well.
What to Expect During Treatment
The initial step in treatment for porn addiction is an evaluation from the medical staff. This staff will assess your overall mental and physical well-being and determine the best plan going forward with treatment.
During this time, the healthcare professionals will look for undiagnosed issues such as anxiety or depression that may be at the root of your addictive behavior. Pornography addiction is an intimacy disorder, and sufferers have often experienced trauma in their childhood. Viewing pornography is less about pleasure and more as a way to handle everyday stress.
Part of the treatment process will deal with handling compulsive behavior, which is a common component of pornography addiction. You will learn ways to deal with compulsive behavior as well as recognize issues that trigger these compulsive behaviors.
During treatment, you will learn to recognize the issues that lead to intimacy issues, such as neglect, trauma, and attachment issues. You will learn to recognize and accept the feelings of fear that vulnerability stirs up. You will learn to push past the pain that makes it difficult to experience real intimacy. Doing so makes the fantasy world of porn you are using as protection less attractive.
Treatment for pornography addiction is not just about dealing with the past. You will need to look at issues in current relationships and recognize how your behavior has affected them. You will also learn to recognize the difference between the fantasy of porn and the value of real relationships.
Pornography addiction often comes with other mental health issues. It is important that the place you seek treatment recognizes that and is equipped to deal with that as well. Just treating the symptoms of pornography addiction without treating other, underlying issues will not lead to success. Learning to deal with the dysfunctional processes and compulsive behavior that occur alongside pornography addiction is an important part of the treatment program.
Common mental health issues that present alongside pornography addiction include depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Substance abuse issues are often common alongside pornography addiction as well.
Successful pornography addiction treatment often starts with inpatient care. Inpatient treatment will give you a head start on managing digital access, an important step in maintaining a successful recovery.
Successful treatment requires a range of therapies. Your treatment program will likely include both group and individual therapy sessions, as well as trauma therapy, alternative treatments, 12-step programs, and holistic programs. As you progress, your family will probably be included in the treatment process. This is important for long-term healing and developing bonds that have been damaged by addiction.
It is important to realize that porn addiction is not a male-only disease. Women can be drawn into this web of addiction just as easily, and, because of the stereotypes surrounding the disease, may be less inclined to seek treatment. While both men and women can experience pornography addiction, it is important that they are treated separately in group sessions.
So, how do you know if your behavior goes beyond casually watching porn for enjoyment or to spice up your relationship? Your feelings surrounding porn are a good way to gauge whether it is a problem or not. If you feel ashamed or guilty after watching porn, it may be because you know it is interfering with your life. If your porn habits have a negative effect on your existing relationships, you may be suffering from addiction. If you look forward to spending time alone so you can watch porn uninterrupted, or you find yourself spending an increasing amount of time watching porn, you may have an addiction. Watching porn when you are anxious or lonely as a way to self-soothe is also a warning sign of addiction.
It is estimated that 40 million Americans visit pornography sites on a regular basis, and one in five internet searches from mobile devices are for pornography. Nearly 90 percent of porn scenes contain aggressive physical behavior. There is no question that the easy access to pornography is creating a growing problem.
If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of addiction, it is important to seek treatment. These issues do not resolve themselves on their own. Porn addiction tends to get worse over time. Without treatment, it can destroy your life and wreck your relationships. Recognizing you need help is the first step to an improved quality of life and developing the skills needed to build intimacy.