Is Internal Porn a Real Addiction?

In today’s society, a large majority of the population still believes that only substances producing tolerance and withdrawal can lead to an addiction. As a sex addiction therapist, I’ve encountered many different articles and blog posts claiming that sex is an “excuse for bad behavior,” rather than an addiction. For example, after reading synopses of the book “The Myth of Sex Addiction,” I came to the conclusion that the author doesn’t seem to understand the root causes of sex addiction. This is a major problem.

For those uncertain if they have a problem and are considering seeking therapy for sex addiction, here are four basic addiction characteristics. As you read them over, keep in mind whether you experience these symptoms when you view pornography.

Compulsion to use

Inability to control use

Continued use despite adverse consequences

Cravings – psychological or physical

If any of the above strike a chord, sex addiction treatment is something you should consider.

Now think about your present situation in regards to tolerance (the need for more adventure or more time on the computer to achieve a similar “high”) and withdrawal (what you feel when you don’t look at porn, such as thoughts of depression, restlessness and anxiety). Make the diagnosis for yourself-could porn addiction treatment and sex addiction treatment improve your life?

If you’re still undecided, take some recent research into account. In 2011, The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) released a new definition of addiction, which they stated was based on biochemistry. As defined, biochemistry is a laboratory-based science that fuses together biology and chemistry to explore the chemical processes within and related to living organisms. By using chemical knowledge and techniques, biochemists can understand and solve today’s most imperative biological problems.

When watching porn, a protein called “DeltaFosBe” is released from dopamine spikes in the brain. An extreme amount of dopamine results in an accumulation of DeltaFosB in the brain’s reward circuitry. This turns on a binge mechanism, which then, as a result, leads to a number of other chemical and cellular changes.

If an accumulation of DeltaFosB appears in an individual’s brain scan, the person is an addict. Regardless of whether the addiction itself pertains to sex, porn, gambling, alcohol or drugs, the requisite brain chemistry labels you as an addict.

To put it another way, addiction is one disease, not many, and should be treated as such. Addictions in sexual behavior exist and are instigated by the same quantifiable brain alterations seen in substance addiction. The ASAM study also revealed that these changes in brain chemistry have the subsequent adverse effects:

Sensitization

Desensitization

Dysfunctional stress circuits

Hypofrontality

As seen above, sex addiction is a very serious problem, and should be treated for help, as with any other addiction. Hopefully, this article will assist you in determining whether you may have an addiction problem, and whether you should take the next step in finding therapy for sex addiction and porn addiction treatment.