March 7, 2016

How Porn Addiction Develops In Men

porn addiction

Internet usage has skyrocketed in past decade with an estimated 40 percent of the world’s population having access to the internet. According to sex therapist Louanne Cole Weston, PhD, there are approximately 420 million adult content web pages online and the person struggling with porn addiction is only one click away from more material. With the rise in internet usage, there has been a concurrent rise in a mental health problem, pornography addiction.

Porn addiction is ranked as one of the most common addictions in the world today. Porn addiction is defined as a behavioral addiction characterized by the increasing compulsion or need to view pornographic content or material.

The development of a porn addiction

The development of porn addiction has been likened to other major addictions such as heroine and alcohol addiction. The development of porn addiction is thought to be faster than that of alcohol and drug addiction. A sense that pornography is merely a part of our culture has been created and people think it a run of the mill kind of thing.

The reasons given for the rapid development of porn addiction are that it makes use of the sensitive sense of sight and that online porn is available in very large quantities. Another factor that promotes porn addiction is that the porn images are stored in memory and beside recall; they can be redrawn through imagination. These images have been shown to linger in the brain long after they were viewed leading to the alteration of the structure and functions of the brain.

The most vulnerable group to porn addiction is teenage boys between the ages of 12 and 17 years. Health practitioners are worried about the fact that porn addiction is affecting such a young group in the population. Other addictions are more prevalent among adults. The effects of pornography on the teenage brain are irreversible since their brains are still growing compared to the effects on the adult brain.

Porn addiction just like any other addiction will leave the individual wanting more and more pornographic images. The more they crave, the more they will not find what they want to see leading to episodes of depression and anxiety. Furthermore, your senses will dull over time and the individual will find it harder to derive pleasure from the pornographic images.

Stages of Pornography Addiction

Not all people who watch pornography will get addicted. how a porn addiction developsPorn addiction is quite destructive and does not come about as a result of porn alone. Porn addiction is the result of a combination of porn and emotional distress.

The porn addiction follows the following five stages:

Early Exposure

The people who get addicted to porn will often start from a very early point. The early exposure to porn sets into motion the process of addiction.

Addiction

The stage of addiction follows that of early exposure. During that stage, you will keep on going back to watching the pornographic images and videos. It can be said that at this point, you are completely hooked. You simply cannot pull out of the habit of watching pornography. Your life is progressively getting controlled by pornography.

Escalation

In the escalation stage, you will be constantly on the search for more pornographic material that is more graphic than previously watched. The implication is that the individual will be looking for porn that he had previously thought it was repulsive. From here, the individual is in serious trouble and should immediately seek out professional help.

Desensitization

The desensitization stage is all about the pornographic material numbing your senses. The more you are watching the repulsive forms of pornography, the more it will not excite you any longer. You will be seeking to find the same thrill but the more you cannot find it. It is the most destructive phase and will predispose the individual to reckless and deviant sexual behavior.

Acting out

The stage will not see the individual actually engage in the deviant sexual activity. The point is characterized by the graduation from the paper and plastic images to the real behavior. It is a very dangerous transition that often lands people into crime. People have ended up serving jail time due to the actually doing what porn has taught them. Pornography addiction is extremely dangerous and serious.

The signs and Symptoms of Porn Addiction

Owing to the lack of an official medical definition of internet porn addiction, there are no definite set of symptoms that are used as a standard. However, there is plenty of medical literature about porn addiction out there.

Some of the commonly occurring symptoms and signs of porn addiction are:

  • Impaired concentration.
  • Use of porn is kept secret from loved ones.
  • Anxiety
  • Angry, hostile or irritable behavior if you are asked to stop using porn.
  • Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder symptoms.
  • Denial
  • Losing track of large chunks of time when you’ve been absorbed in porn use.
  • Feelings of self-loathing.
  • Increased need for more
  • Lack of interest in sex.
  • Tolerance—what was once enough no longer is
  • You feel powerless over how you act.
  • Feelings of shame
  • Preoccupation with sexual matters.
  • Feelings of embarrassment.
  • Inability to stop using pornography.
  • Passing up opportunities, or have considered passing up opportunities to watch porn.
  • Feelings that you live a double or secret life due to pornography.
  • Neglect of family, social or work obligations due to porn.
  • Withdrawal symptoms

The Effects of Porn Addiction

Virtual Infidelity

With an estimated twenty eight thousand people watching pornography every minute, the magnitude of virtual infidelity can be understood. Among these numbers of people viewing pornography, 72 percent are men whereas 28 percent are women. Virtual infidelity and porn addiction on a whole is a wrecking ball in homes, marriages and relationships.

Virtual infidelity is characterized by viewing strangers engage in sexual activity, joining the anonymous chat rooms, harboring fantasies of relationships with strangers, escape and betrayal, and the eventual emotional and physical disengagement from your partner or spouse. Virtual infidelity has erosive effects on the man and the subtle corrosive effects on the woman. It is a malevolent and slippery path.

Impaired Functional Connectivity

The studies that have been carried out have indicated that viewing internet pornography for hours per week leads to decreasing amounts of gray matter compared to people who did not view pornography. Internet pornography is associated with the rewiring of the pleasure center in the brain. It affects the functional connectivity due to the decreased number of neurons and neuroconnectivity in the pleasure centers in the brain.

The effects of the decreasing gray matter in the brain are that the brain craves more pornographic images or videos, also it becomes very hard for the same images to provide pleasure, and finally the addict will result to finding more deviant pornographic material such as sexual violence and child pornography.

Erectile Dysfunction

Porn addiction has been associated with erectile dysfunction. The erectile dysfunction caused by internet pornography is the type that does not respond to medication. Medication will usually treat the sexual organs but will not treat the brain where the real problem lies.

Breakdown of families and relationships

the effects of a porn addictionThe effects of porn addiction on the family, on marriages and on relationships are negative and quite destructive. First and foremost, the addict will be unable to emotionally connect and also reduces physical affection. For people in relationships and marriages, the addicts are unable to fulfill their conjugal obligations. The addict is also most likely to be unfaithful to their spouse or partner.

Deviant Behavior

On the extreme end of the porn addiction spectrum, these people have the propensity to engage in deviant sexual behaviors such as child pornography, sex trafficking and violent sex crimes.

A list of other effects of a porn addiction:

a)      Decreased productivity and concentration at work or school

b)      Depression

c)      Substance abuse

d)      Emotion Deregulation and Decreased Impulse Control

e)      Obsessive-compulsive type of symptoms

f)       Shame and/or guilt

g)      Financial troubles

h)      Legal problems

i)        Divorce

j)        Engaging in high risk or unhealthy sexual activity

Is there treatment available for porn addiction?

Porn addiction is not yet listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision, also known as DSM-IV-TR, as an official mental disorder like drug or gambling addictions. However, therapists are beginning to take the condition seriously and use the same criteria for determining whether or not a patient is addicted to substance abuse to identify the porn addiction or the dependence on pornography at the expense of other facets of life.

Even though porn addiction is not is there a treatment for porn addictionformally diagnosable, the presence of the signs and symptoms of porn addiction are used to evaluate the problem. It is often impossible to evaluate yourself for porn addiction. Seek professional help and treatment if you take note of the symptoms of porn addiction. Porn addiction is associated with adverse consequences.

Porn addiction can be treated but you will be required to see a psychologist or a mental health professional. They will help you and guide you through addressing the underlying factors that cause porn addiction.

The available treatment options are:

·         Individual therapy comprises 30-60 minute sessions often with a mental health professional and is aimed at addressing the sexually compulsive behaviors and other co-occurring conditions.

·         Psychodynamic therapy seeks to address the childhood influencers or present factors that could be fueling the porn addiction. It is based on the fact that unconscious memories and conflicts affect behavior.

·         Group therapy is lauded for providing addicts with the assurance that they are not all alone in their troubles. It is conducted with a group of similarly affected people and led by a therapist to help instill positive and pro-social behaviors.

·         Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps the addict to change negative thoughts with positive thoughts through behavior change and self-talk.  Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the fact that our behaviors, emotions, and thoughts are all interrelated.

·         Marriage counseling or Couple’s counseling is beneficial on so many angles to the porn addict if they are married or in a long-term relationship. The porn addict benefits from attending the sessions with their partners. Through couple counseling, the couple is able to improve communication skills, improve trust, and improve healthy sexual functioning.

·         Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy (DBT) seeks to teach four skills to the porn addict and these are emotion regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness and interpersonal effectiveness. The therapy has the following components: individual treatment, skills training group, consultation and dialectical-behavioral therapy phone coaching.

·         Inpatient therapy is carried out in inpatient recovery centers which have been designated to help patients with porn addiction. The porn addict will reside in the facility over the course of treatment for them to concentrate on the healing process without the obvious distractions and temptations of everyday life.

·         12-step recovery takes into account the 12 steps recovery program for Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a group based model focused on acknowledging an individual’s powerlessness and willingness to live a life free of porn addiction.

·         Use of antidepressants: The most common are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors that are used to treat co-occurring conditions in porn addiction such depression and anxiety. The drugs have the side effects of decreasing sexual urges and cravings.

·         Other forms of treatment are online education support websites such as:

a.      Addo Recovery (www.addorecovery.com)

b.      Integrity Restored—Help for Catholic men and their families (www.integrityrestored.com)

c.       Sex Help (www.sexhelp.com)

Conclusion

If you are or a loved one is struggling with compulsive use of pornography, please reach out for help. Porn addiction is a major issue but there is help available.

Source Material

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/top-five-warning-signs-of-internet-pornography-addiction-280653822.html http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/26/brain-scans-porn-addicts-sexual-tastes http://therapyassociates.net/blog/2013/10/6/minimizing-and-denial-fatal-flaws-in-how-pornography-addiction-develops http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/pornography-and-virtual-infidelity/stages-of-porn-addiction http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/pornography-and-virtual-infidelity/virtual-infidelity-and-marriage http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/pornography-and-virtual-infidelity/corrosive-influence-of-porn-on-wives http://www.psychguides.com/guides/sex-addiction-symptoms-causes-and-effects/ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-about-addiction/201111/internet-porn-addiction-why-is-free-porn-so-irresistible http://www.askmen.com/dating/love_tip_400/404_love_tip.html http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/brain-activity-in-sex-addiction-mirrors-that-of-drug-addiction#sthash.2emonJlv.dpuf (link is external) http://www.projectknow.com/research/porn-addiction/ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inside-porn-addiction/201411/is-pornography-sexual-addiction-real

Mark Meyers

Mark is founder and sexcoach at Sexual Improvements. "Anyone can have an awesome sexlife with the right information!"

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