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.

Porn Addiction: Effects, Symptoms, and Treatment

Who can deny, that out of all the different types of process addictions, one of the most secretive and hardest to reveal in the world is porn addiction?

In fact, more people than we think are addicted to watching porn. Often associated with masturbation, porn addiction is also considered to be a process addiction. There are many theories that try to figure out how porn addiction develops. Some consider it a psychological disposition; others are convinced that it can be physically abusive-just as drugs can be. However, before delving into what causes porn addiction, it’s important to describe this addiction more clearly. After all, there is a healthy side to porn-watching and masturbation, as well as an abusive side.

Signs that you or someone you know is addicted to porn includes: decrease in social activity (to watch porn), negative repercussions involving work and finances, continued seclusion, and the obsession to continue watching porn instead of performing vital daily functions. Because of the nature of this disease, for which many individuals consider to be absolutely private, or even taboo, it’s common for people addicted to porn to become reclusive and withdrawn.

Approaching the situation of porn addiction is a very fragile process. It is important not to become angry, resentful or close minded when it comes to understanding the reasons for the addiction. It is even more important to remain respectful yet firm in suggesting help for the addiction. Although initial attempts are likely to be rejected, steady support and suggestion will often sway a porn addict to consider rehabilitation from the addiction.

Once the option to attend a rehabilitation treatment made, many other decisions can be made. First and foremost, an individual’s needs play a crucial role in the choices made as far as location, amenities and approaches are concerned. As mentioned before, porn addiction is often linked to another form of addiction, including masturbation addiction. This process addiction-or an addiction associated with an action instead of a harmful substance-must be treated in conjunction with porn addiction. Failure to address all sides of the addiction will result in failure to fully rehabilitate from it. Some facilities require complete abstinence as a way to forcefully show addicts that no harm will be done when masturbation and porn are abstained from. Other reasons for mandatory abstinence are in the case of porn addicts who are also sex addicts. This is important because sex addiction poses much higher health risks than masturbation and porn addiction combined. The introduction of STD’s and potentially HIV/AIDs is an extremely high risk for sex addicts and demands immediate attention.

Only after accompanying addictions are treated can there be any chance of overcoming porn addiction. Often times, with the cessation of masturbation or sex addiction, the desire to watch porn diminishes greatly on its own. For others who still sense a persistent need to watch porn, therapists can help teach moderation and control. This way, a generally harmless practice can be safely enjoyed without the risk of negatively impacting other aspects of life.

People addicted to porn have several options when it comes to rehabilitation. Mentioned above is the scenario in which a porn addict enrolls in a treatment program located in a rehabilitation facility. Other options are to engage in treatment programs while still living at home, or perhaps, intensive outpatient treatment. Although the porn addict does not suffer from substance abuse, inpatient living arrangements have proven to help re-learn productive daily habits that will improve the addict’s control over his or her actions.

Also extremely effective while healing from porn addiction, are peer support groups. Although more underground than AA group meetings, public group meetings still exist for porn addiction. In these meetings, other process addicts that are addicted to abusive actions (including sexual endeavors or gambling) can share stories of liberation, empowerment and success in overcoming the addiction. Peer support has been found to have a profound impact on the healing process for porn addicts.

By connecting with peers, the recovering addict is presented with a point of view that he or she can more easily connect with, thus allowing them to gain coping strategies that can greatly help them recover from the self-destructive behavior.

If someone you know is addicted to porn, masturbation or sex, it is important to remain conscious of the level of sensitivity regarding the subject. With the action being so personal, it is not recommended to face the addict with abrupt, harsh or brash approaches toward their condition. Using motivation and patience, porn addiction can be overcome by practically any individual who follows the proper course of treatment.

Porn Addiction – 7 Ways to Stay Addicted

Recovery from porn addiction is a simple but difficult process. The principles and directions suggested are not rocket science but they can be difficult to maintain. Unlike other chemical addictions, sex is something that you carry with you between your ears. At any moment, the sex or pornography addict can get a little high just by indulging in fantasy. With such an easy availability and an unending supply, is it any wonder that pornography addicts struggle with sobriety. The bottom line is that the porn addict must be willing to do whatever it takes to get sober and stay sober. He or she can either follow a process that works or they can do one of these top seven things to stay addicted.

1. Don’t take the risk of being Honest– You won’t be too vulnerable and you won’t stay sober either. Our addictions grow in the dark, so keep your secrets and keep your porn.

2. Only go to 12-step meetings when it is convenient. You are a busy person and it can be very difficult to juggle family, work, and recovery. Keep your meetings as a low priority and keep acting out.

3. Find a counselor that won’t hold you accountable – A good counselor that understands this problem will push you to do the things you need to do to stay sober. They will hold you accountable. That can be uncomfortable and awkward. Stick with a counselor who knows less than you do about porn addiction and stick with your addiction.

4. Masturbation– You can tell yourself that it’s okay to masturbate as long as you don’t use pornography just like the alcoholic can have a glass of wine with dinner, the gambling addict can still play cards, and the heroin junkie can do with a fix now and then. It’s what we call fantasy. Masturbate in early sobriety and get back to your pornography quicker.

5. Don’t get a 12-step sponsor – Asking someone to be your sponsor feels pretty weird, calling him is awkward, and having coffee and talking is stranger still. Sponsorship is a good idea that you will get to soon. Take your time and find the right person. Eventually you will find the right sponsor or maybe you will just act out again.

6. Don’t get an Internet filter– Take your time with this one. Set the passwords later when you get a chance. Just don’t go to the porn sites for now. An internet filter or block makes it much harder to access pornography and you don’t really need all that support. Be sure to keep your smart phone too.

7. Neglect good self care– Now is the time to work as many hours as you can, stay up late working or watching TV, or just eating whatever looks good. Exercise is optional. Burn the candle and watch your sexual sobriety melt away.

That’s the list. The top seven ways you can stay addicted to pornography. It’s your choice. Please choose wisely.