Trends and Statistics - Addiction Recovery

Porn Addiction: When to Seek Help for Addiction to Pornography

What is Porn Addiction?

Porn addiction can have many of the same patterns as other behavioral addictions. It's also treatable with the right help. Learn more in our blog.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Trends and Statistics

Addiction Recovery

September 12, 2023

The internet is a place that is growing at a neck-breaking speed.

As the users are growing in exponential ways, so is pornography. This pornographic content is easily accessible to people of any age. Despite safe search and parental control options, surpassing them to reach explicit content is relatively easy. Unfortunately, the internet is not the only place where such content is available to the public.

A lot of people purchase explicit pornographic magazines or watch films that are televised on cable or are rented from shops and movie libraries. Approximately 200,000 Americans can be classified as porn addicts. These statistics pose a very concerning subject of porn addiction. 

In today's article, we will be focusing on pornographic addiction. We will cover its meaning, types, causes, effects, and, most importantly, treatment of porn addiction. 

Porn Addiction by the Numbers:

The United States of America statistics show that each day as many as 37 pornographic videos, 2.5 billion porn-containing emails, 68 million explicit search queries, and 116,000 child pornographic queries happen in the country.

What Is Porn Addiction?

Porn addiction, also known as pornographic addiction, can be understood as a behavioral or process addiction. There is considerable controversy around the validity of it as an actual addiction condition.

This is why it is important to note that porn addiction is not officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diagnostic Statistical Manual for Psychiatric Disorders (DSM-V). In fact, they do not consider any form of sexual addiction as a disorder. The only process of addiction officially recognized by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual as a disorder is gambling disorder.

But before jumping to that, let's first discuss the meaning of porn addiction.

It is a behavioral addiction characterized by a person's compulsive behavior of viewing pornographic content. This behavior is a repeated pattern where an individual continues engaging despite negative consequences. 

Another debatable topic while discussing porn addiction is its similarities with substance use disorder.

Is Porn Addiction Like Drug Addiction?

Some experts claim that the brain functioning of people addicted to porn is not the same as that of drug addicts. However, others believe that the repetitive pattern and its escalation over time are very similar to substance use disorder. Many porn addicts claim their thinking process gets overwhelmed by sexual feelings and need to watch porn so much that it resembles nicotine smokers. Many people who think they have an addiction to porn seek help at rehab centers and therapists’ offices.

So, despite the lack of a formal diagnosis, porn addiction can still be treated successfully. Medical professionals can formulate a treatment plan for people afflicted with this problem.  

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Who Develops a Porn Addiction?

It is vital to note that not every person can be identified as being addicted to porn if they view or enjoy porn. Here, the most crucial factor is the lack of control.

There are different categories of people with porn addiction and a broad category of them is mentioned below:

Porn Addiction: Recreational Viewers

This is the category for people with a healthy viewing of pornographic content. 75 percent of recreational viewers watch porn for about 24 minutes every week. It has been noted that most viewers in this category are female or are partners.

Viewing porn does not obstruct their relationship or sex life. It does not cause them any distress and is watched for enjoyment. It can, in fact, enhance their sex lives. Their recreational watch is occasional and takes over their life or interests. 

Porn Addiction: Non-Compulsive Viewers

This category of highly distressed people, and about 12.7% of adults are categorized under this type. This one is problematic, unlike the above category, with health habits attached. They are non-compulsive viewers with less porn-watching habits. They watch for around 17 minutes per week but still have various troubles. Most people in this category are single, watching to enhance their self-esteem. 

Porn Addiction: Compulsive Viewers

Such viewers in this category do not have healthy porn consumption. Around 11.8% of people are in this third category, most of whom are men. Compulsive porn consumption leads to interference in daily life. They will be compelled to give up other interests and habits to watch porn. Such people have an average viewing time of 110 minutes per week and are at high risk of becoming porn addicts. 

What Causes Porn Addiction?

It is difficult to rule out the exact cause of why some people end up escalating out of control and becoming porn addicts. This is because many people watch and enjoy porn but don't become addicted, while some do. It is noticed that many people with this addiction have mental and physical causes.

Some people watch porn because they enjoy the rush. They soon start to indulge more in it without caring for the problem it's causing or even feeling guilty about it. But since they have already done it and couldn't resist the urge, it can become a pattern. On the other hand, some people use porn to cope with their untreated/undiagnosed mental condition. 

Some people been experienced sexual abuse and want to use porn content to resolve their sexual feelings and conflicts. While they cannot talk or engage with other people about sex, they become addicted to porn. Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression can also use porn to cope with aloofness and isolating feelings. This habit can be dangerous.

Coping with unresolved conditions and trauma from porn can lead to addiction. In fact, porn can be detrimental to their condition as it can prolong their issues.

Many studies and research have indicated that, like substance use disorder, porn addiction is also caused by dopamine release. Regular pornographic consumption can lead to reward path stimulation, and brains can confuse porn with natural sexual events. This means that porn can trigger excess dopamine release that resembles sexual activities. 

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What Are Signs of Porn Addiction?

Numerous signs can help a person understand whether they are addicted to porn or are simply a recreational viewer and whether they are harming their life on personal and professional fronts or not. Some of these signs are mentioned below. 

Early warning signs for porn addicts are:

  • When a person's porn-viewing habit is growing day by day

  • Needing porn content as a fix like that of drugs

  • Unable to resist the urge to watch porn regularly

  • Having a massive amount of guilt after watching it

  • Spending hours and hours on porn websites while neglecting all other duties of personal and professional life, even sleeping

  • Forcing their partners to watch and indulge in pornographic content even when they don't want to

  • Feeling sexually unsatisfied without watching porn first.

Some Porn Addiction Symptoms

There are several symptoms of porn addiction; some commonly experienced symptoms are mentioned below.

A few symptoms of porn addiction are:

  • Spending a lot of time watching pornographic content and indulging in porn-related materials

  • Unable to control or stop the viewing habit despite several attempts of trying to do so

  • Side-lining and neglecting all other things in favor of watching porn

  • Experience a sort of craving and urge to watch porn

  • Becoming defensive and aggressive when someone tries to question or intervene in your porn-viewing habit

  • Watching more and more explicit porn content to gain satisfaction

  • Maintaining secrecy around porn consumption from your partner

  • Unable to enjoy sex life or gain satisfaction with your partner

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Effects of Porn Addiction

Pornography addiction is on a constant rise due to easy accessibility via the Internet. Due to this, porn has become widely available to all age groups worldwide. A large Internet section is dominated by explicit content and porn websites. Several studies have pointed out that minors' viewership is on the rise.

One of the biggest adverse effects of porn addiction is on a couple's personal life. It can severely damage relationships as the addicts often lie or overindulge in pornographic content. Many addicts have a decreased sex drive which leads to sexual problems.

Psychologists have also stated that many of their porn addict patients have lost their jobs as they could not control their urge to watch explicit content while at work. 

How to Stop Porn Addiction

There are a few things people who think they’re addicted to porn can do to help themselves:

  • Removing and deleting bookmarks, websites, and electronic porn

  • Deleting hard copies of explicit content

  • Installing anti-porn software

  • Identifying triggers

  • Sharing with your partner and taking their help

  • Taking up hobbies and interests to distract from urges

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Porn Addiction Help & Treatment  

One of the most vital questions regarding this type of addiction is the treatment. Many people wonder whether there is porn addiction treatment or any porn addiction support groups to overcome this addiction. Fortunately, the answer is affirmative.

But before that, one has to know that they require professional help. When a person is addicted to using/watching porn and cannot quit it on their own, it is time to seek medical help from professionals. Many people go through this internal struggle every day, and many rehabilitation programs are made to help overcome this. It is quite fortunate that despite a lack of clarity in the diagnosis category for porn addiction, options are still available.

What Types of Porn Addiction Treatment Are There? 

Types of porn addiction treatment include:

Therapy

One of the primary treatment types is therapy. Behavioral counseling helps patients identify and alter their behavioral patterns. These behavioral patterns contribute to addiction; one can hope to change them by addressing them. For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) assists an individual in changing their destructive habits and addressing the emotional state that contributes to porn addiction. 

Medication

Although porn addiction treatment is all about behavioral therapies and support groups, there can be medications to treat the underlying condition of anxiety, depression, and insomnia.   

Support Groups

Many people find talking to people about their experiences and suffering easier. These people will have similar problems, which gives them the strength to converse with people with similar experiences. There are several sexual and pornographic addiction support groups that you can consult from your medical professional.  

Is There a Connection Between Substance Abuse and Porn Addiction?

You may not be aware of the significantly strong connection between porn addiction and substance abuse. People who watch pornography may feel guilty and ashamed. Whether this is shame brought on by the inner conflict with their faith, internalized shame about sexuality, or feeling like a moral failure, it is pretty common to have such an emotional state.

Apart from these, many people abuse substances while using porn. While some people use those to increase their pleasure, others use them to suppress their fear and anxiety. People who use an intoxicating substance while watching porn get heightened sensory repose. The combination results in stimulation that helps block out other feelings.

People who have been through traumatic incidents find themselves with cross-addictions to pornography and drugs. 

However, the combination of both of these things increases the risk of developing porn and substance addiction. People who use intoxicating substances to suppress their feelings will have a hard time resisting the use of pornography. This will lead to porn addiction. The therapeutic treatment for porn addiction emphasizes resolving the inner conflicts in an individual. This becomes difficult when a person uses substances to repress their emotions and is disconnected from reality.

Cross-addiction (or dual diagnosis) can harm the user's interpersonal relations, professional life, and financial state. It will also lead to psychological issues like anxiety and depression. All these interconnected similarities between substance abuse and porn addiction make it easy to treat them. 

Feel Like Porn Addiction Is Running Your Life? The Edge Treatment Center Can Help You Find a New Perspective

The Edge Treatment Center is a leading mental health and drug rehab center. It is an accredited institution that offers dual-diagnosis treatment to individuals suffering from underlying mental and physical health issues.

Guided by a trauma-informed philosophy, we’ve carefully curated a safe, non-judgmental environment where the emotional and mental roots of addiction can be explored safely and effectively. Offering both dual diagnosis and mental health tracks, our facility is ideal for real healing.

If you’d like to learn more about our effective, evidence-based care for porn addiction and other process additions, please reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today.

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