What are the Effects of Porn Addiction and Its Recovery Pathway

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Alarming statistics have been released claiming the sudden treble in the number of people addicted to porn since the start of the pandemic. As reported, there were 30,000 people found seeking porn addiction support in 2020, but the number increased to 60,000 in 2021.  However, while viewing pornography may benefit people for self-exploration, sex education, and even improving the relationship with your partner, indulging in the practice beyond the limit could be problematic. Porn addiction, much like other dependencies, can have adverse effects on a person’s well-being. But how? Read this article to increase your knowledge about porn addiction, its signs, causes, mental health effects, and recovery pathway with the help of rehab therapies

What is Porn Addiction?

Categorized as a behavioral addiction, problematic pornography use repeatedly engages a person in compulsive behaviors despite its adverse effects. For example, people addicted to porn crave erotic displays despite compromising behaviors at their work, social interactions, and academics. The thoughts of porn can also consume a person with a porn addiction, and they may begin to watch it in public spaces. Though it hasn’t been recognised as a diagnosable condition, it readily affects people from all walks of life.

Signs of Porn Addiction

Excessive porn consumption usually takes up a lot of time, leading to loss of control, thereby establishing whether a person is addicted to porn. Porn addiction may also result in broken relationships, which may manifest in the following ways, such as:

  • Consuming porn at risky times and moments
  • Engagement in risky sexual behaviour
  • An inability to quit porn despite constant efforts
  • Excessive spending on pornographic material
  • Feeling anger at being advised to reduce porn consumption
  • Use of porn to cope with difficult emotions, such as pain, anxiety, and sadness
  • Finding sexual intercourse less satisfying
  • Hiding porn habits from sexual partners and others
  • Progressing to more extreme forms of pornography to find pleasure
  • Experiencing shame watching porn but unable to stop

Causes of Porn Addiction 

Though there is no clear consensus on what causes porn addiction, some factors may include:

Cultural Factors: Societal expectations like sex, appearance, and relationships may trigger excessive pron use.

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Brain Differences: Distorted brain chemistry or biological deformation of the brain may make people susceptible to behavioural addictions and substance use disorders.

Relationship Problems: Problems in sexual relationships or less intimacy may lead people to porn to cope with or fulfil their sexual desires.

Stress or Psychological Problems: Sexual pleasure is a great stress-buster, and therefore, some people view pornography to escape the reality of life or as a coping mechanism to manage life stress and mental health issues.

Effects of Porn Addiction 

One of the integral reasons for the high prevalence of porn addiction is its accessibility. With the help of the internet and paid subscriptions to websites, anyone can become dependent on erotic material. Research also shows that pornography leads to negative changes in the brain. Like substance use disorder or any other behavioural addiction, porn also affects the dopamine levels in the brain, releasing it in high amounts. As a result, the cravings to watch porn increase. However, beyond affecting the brain, people addicted to porn may also experience specific negative effects outlined below:

  1. It Affects Intimacy Between Partners

While every individual is susceptible to porn addiction, it is more common in men to develop the traits. In particular, men who watch pornography regularly tend to pull away emotionally from their significant others. As a result, you may see the intensity of their addiction in their secretive behaviours and chances of falling into depressive states. The type of porn men watches also affects intimacy between partners, as they consume a less-affectionate form of pornography in general. 

  1. It Can Affect Daily Functioning

Porn addiction is a compulsive behaviour that induces uncontrollable urges in an individual, and they become glued to their TV or laptop screens. However, it can affect their daily functioning. The overwhelming need to watch people engaging in sexual activity becomes more important than boosting productivity at work, home, and in social settings. They don’t care about the scheduled meeting with a client, going to their doctor’s appointment, or even taking time to relax or play. 

  1. It May Affect Self-Esteem

Realising that your partner is drawing you away physically due to porn can affect your self-esteem. You may start questioning your abilities in bed, appearance, the interests of your partner, and much more that may be responsible for you falling short and causing your partner to get affected by this hypersexual disorder. 

  1. It Can Affect Satisfaction From Sex
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People addicted to porn may compare themselves or their partners with the professional sex workers they watch in pornography. Though it isn’t uncommon to make comparisons, relying on them completely to feel satisfied during sexual activity can affect relationships. People may also consider their physical appearance and sexual abilities weaker. 

  1. Porn Addiction May Result in Mental Health Disorders

Porn addiction is disturbing as people lose control over their urges and behaviours. And when they are unable to fulfil their desires, they are more likely to experience anxiety, mood disorders, and even substance abuse challenges. 

Treatment for Porn Addiction 

Because porn addiction isn’t classified as an official disorder yet, treatment options aren’t established. However, many are adopted to manage the symptoms.

Medication 

Most commonly used to manage alcohol and opioid dependence, naltrexone is also prescribed by healthcare professionals to manage erotic dependence in porn addicts. It is because naltrexone helps halt the cravings for porn and the satisfaction achieved from porn consumption.

Rehab Therapies

After medication, one of the most effective ways to control porn addiction is to talk to a healthcare professional. They will help manage the negative behaviours and reduce the feelings of guilt associated with porn consumption using rehab therapies or techniques like family therapy and relationship counseling. It also helps address emotional and intimacy challenges compromised due to porn addiction. 

Bottom Line

Porn addiction should not be addressed as an isolated form of shame but as a condition with inner pain and uncontrollable urges. It is the first step people addicted to porn must realise to start healing. Often, porn addiction cause mental health disorders and therefore, porn addiction support is needed. Fortunately, integrated treatment plans, including medication and rehab therapies, can help people recover from porn addiction. To know how it works, contact your nearest rehab centre today!

 

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