Porn Addiction Counseling

Aug 7, 2023

It’s no secret that porn is everywhere online these days. Of the top 15 websites visited, 3 are porn sites. While porn addiction is not officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) of the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders, overconsumption of pornography impacts millions. A 2019 study showed that hypersexual disorder, which includes pornography use, affects 3% to 6% of the population. Other studies by the Kinsey Institute found that 9% of porn watchers had tried to stop watching porn but were unsuccessful. Excessive viewing of porn results in changes to the brain and stimulates addiction. 

Treatment and counseling options are available for those who struggle with a porn addiction. 

What is Porn Addiction?

Porn addiction is a type of behavioral addiction that is characterized by an individual's compulsive use of pornography, regardless of the potential consequences. Individuals who struggle with porn addiction may find themselves preoccupied with consuming and seeking out pornographic images and videos, resulting in negative impacts on their mental health, relationships, and other areas of life.

Signs of Porn Addiction

Signs that someone might be struggling with porn addiction include:

  • spending large amounts of time viewing pornography

  • neglecting important responsibilities

  • lying about or hiding their behavior

  • feeling powerless to stop engaging in this behavior

  • repeatedly attempting to quit without success

  • using porn as a coping mechanism for stress or other difficult emotions

  • becoming easily agitated when unable to access porn

  • developing unrealistic expectations

Impacts of Porn Addiction

Studies have shown that pornography consumption can negatively impact relationships. One study showed that, in heterosexual relationships, male pornography use had a negative impact on the couple's sex life. However, female use of pornography was associated with improved sexual quality for the woman. 

Other side effects of porn consumption can include:

  • Difficulty becoming aroused.

  • Loss of interest in sex with a partner.

  • A partner may feel sexually inadequate.

  • Depression.

  • Anxiety.

  • Erectile dysfunction. 

Finding Help for Porn Addiction

Those struggling with porn addiction often have feelings of shame and embarrassment. Finding professional help can mitigate these feelings and work to discover the root cause of porn addiction.

If you think you or a loved one has a problem with over-consuming porn there are several options available to get treatment. The most common method for treatment is talking to a mental health professional. 

Therapy and counseling can help find the root cause of the addiction and help develop strategies to cope and mitigate the compulsion to view porn. During counseling a patient can identify their triggers, what makes them view porn, and develop healthy strategies in response to their triggers. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

A common tactic used is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach that helps individuals identify and modify negative thought patterns and behaviors. By fostering a healthier mindset, CBT aims to alleviate emotional distress and improve coping mechanisms, promoting positive changes in overall mental well-being.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

In addition to CBT some providers also use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy that focuses on accepting challenging thoughts and emotions without judgment. It empowers individuals to align their actions with personal values, promoting psychological flexibility and ultimately leading to a more fulfilling life.

Couples Counseling

If a pornography addiction is negatively impacting a relationship then couples counseling is another viable treatment option. Couples counseling for pornography addiction provides a safe space for partners to address the impact of the addiction on their relationship. It facilitates open communication, understanding, and healing, helping both partners to support each other through the recovery process and rebuild trust and intimacy.

Online Therapy for Porn Addiction

As with in-person therapy, online therapy offers the same techniques to help a person identify the causes of pornography addiction and strategies to overcome their compulsions and addictions. Online therapy allows patients to receive treatment in the comfort of their homes, making it convenient and discreet. 

Support Groups

Support groups are an important part of the recovery process for individuals who are struggling with porn addiction. These groups provide people with a safe and supportive environment to discuss their experiences, share their stories, and learn from others who have gone through similar struggles. They can help those in recovery find ways to cope with the challenges associated with overcoming addiction, as well as providing them with an outlet to express themselves without judgment. 

Online Groups

Much like in-person support groups, online groups offer a supportive and understanding community for individuals seeking recovery. Participants can share experiences, challenges, and strategies while receiving encouragement from others on the same journey. These groups provide a safe space to discuss sensitive topics openly and work towards overcoming pornography addiction together.

Where to Find Help for a Pornography Addiction

Finding help for a pornography addiction can be a transformative step towards reclaiming control over one's life and well-being. Acknowledging the issue and seeking support is crucial for recovery. Remember, recovery takes time and effort, and relapses are common. The most important aspect is to remain persistent, compassionate towards oneself, and committed to the journey of healing. The right support network will increase the odds of success and make the road to recovery smoother. 

References:

Online Porn Addiction: What We Know and What We Don’t—A Systematic Review

Top Websites Ranking - Most Visited Websites in July 2023 | Similarweb

Pornography Addiction: Why Pornography Is Addictive? - WebMD

Pornography use: who uses it and how it is associated with couple outcomes

Effects of Pornography on Relationships | USU


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