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Porn Addiction

Signs and Symptoms of Porn Addiction

As one of the most controversial and popular forms of content on the internet, porn continues to be studied for its potential psychological effects.

Behavioral Addiction: Does Porn Addiction Count?

One of the newest areas of addiction research deals with the addictive nature of the internet. While the concept of internet addiction is new, the idea of behavioral addictions has existed for decades. Psychology recognizes gambling as an addictive activity that stimulates the brain in similar ways as drugs and alcohol. New research is leading scientists to believe porn addiction may be an issue worth treating.

Recent studies on problematic internet use focused on social media habits, gaming habits, and porn habits. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) determined that, of these options, gaming alone constituted a behaviorally addictive habit. Many researchers since the APA’s decision have put forth evidence and studies demonstrating the addictive potential of internet pornography. Like video games and gambling, porn activates the reward center of the brain and releases the feel-good chemical dopamine. This chemical reward incentivizes further porn use, and researchers believe it’s this cycle that leads to the addictive nature of porn.

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The Addictive Internet

The more we understand the ways in which our brain responds to stimulation, the better we can predict and diagnose addictive behaviors. While the internet doesn’t supply the same external chemical rush as drugs and alcohol, the stimulation of the reward centers in the brain can reinforce the behavior by itself. An internet habit needs to be pretty extreme in order to qualify as an addiction. Even if someone plays video games for hours at a time, unless it significantly damages their wellbeing, it’s most likely not an addiction.

Signs And Symptoms Of Porn Addiction

The following signs and symptoms describe harmful habits surrounding porn use that should be monitored. If one of these applies to you, that does not make you a porn addict, but it may serve you to examine your use. Additionally, only a licensed behavioral health professional can diagnosis someone with an addiction.

Signs Of Porn Addiction

  • Using porn feels out of control
  • Failing multiple times to quit or limit use
  • You feel extreme guilt, remorse, or depression after using porn
  • You intentionally hide the porn use
  • Using porn starts to impede your hobbies and responsibilities
  • Pornography begins negatively impacting your life (relationships, job performance, etc.) and you don’t stop

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Consequences Of Porn Addiction

  • Issues creating meaningful and lasting connections
  • Sexual dysfunction with partners in real life
  • Physical dysfunction (erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, inability to orgasm, etc.)
  • Loss of interest in non-porn activities

Changing Course

Recovering from an addiction is no easy feat, but these measures can help someone get on track to recover their porn habit.

  • Website blocking software to remove your access from the problem sites
  • Stop using drugs and alcohol, because they can impair impulse control
  • Try to treat any possible underlying depression or anxiety
  • See a therapist or counselor face to face to address the problem with professional help

Treatment For Porn Addiction

An addiction can form without the abuse of drugs and alcohol. If you or someone you know is showing signs of porn addiction or addiction to any internet services, please reach out today. Counselors can administer therapy and provide skill development in order to avoid this kind of addiction occurring again. Just because you’re not addicted to drugs, doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help.

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Author

Michael Muldoon

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  • Michael Muldoon earned a B.A. in Media Studies from Penn State University, but instead of shifting into an academic career in social science, he has decided to put his skills to work in the pursuit of helping those struggling with addiction. He enjoys spending his free time at the climbing gym with friends.

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Clinical Reviewer

Theresa Parisi

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  • All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by Theresa Parisi, a certified addiction professional.

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