Porn Addiction

Break Free From the Grip of Addiction

Understanding and overcoming the dangers of pornography addiction.

Although many still see pornography as a taboo subject to discuss openly, searching for porn makes up 25% of all keyword searches on the web today. Porn sites are still the most trafficked sites on the entire internet.

And even though these statistics suggest a large portion of people are watching or viewing pornographic material, the stigma of consuming pornography is still as negative and prevalent as it has always been. At CATCH Recovery, we understand that people may choose to seek out pornographic material occasionally, but it can just as easily become an obsessive and compulsive behaviour for some.

Pornography addiction is a real illness that can negatively disrupt lives and harm personal and romantic relationships. But with the right help, porn addiction can be treated effectively.

Understanding Pornography

Pornography is typically defined as any material showing genitalia or sexual acts in a way that sparks an erotic response from the person viewing it.

Porn addiction is not recognised as an official illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-5) or by the World Health Organisation, despite clear evidence of its harm on individuals and the wider public.

Today, most pornographic material is viewed on the internet through millions of porn sites ranging from all-inclusive to specialised ‘fetish’ content. It’s estimated that the porn industry is valued at over 97 billion dollars a year, and the number of internet users viewing porn is around 28,000 every second.

So, when does watching porn go from becoming a harmless, private activity to an addiction that damages lives?

Is Watching Pornography Addictive?

You can form a compulsion or dependency to almost any behaviour, and watching porn is no exception. Porn addiction specifically refers to repeated and compulsive use of pornographic material despite negative consequences.

Like all compulsive behaviours, repeat exposure coupled with uncontrollable urges to watch porn produces a dopamine rush that alters the brain chemistry.

Over time, just like substance abuse, increased exposure is required to achieve the same rush.

This may take the form of more extreme pornographic material to feel satisfaction. It’s a never-ending cycle and difficult to break without experienced professionals to help you recover.

The highly trained and experienced counsellors at CATCH Recovery are here to help you take that first step. Our holistic approach to tackling pornography addiction can help you take control of your compulsions. Call us now to schedule a confidential assessment with one of our treatment specialists today.

The Difference Between Porn and Sex Addiction

While both porn and sex addiction involve compulsive sexual behaviours, they are different in terms of the specific behaviours involved in each addiction. Porn addiction is focused on viewing pornographic material, while sex addiction is focused on taking part in a wide range of compulsive sexual behaviours, often with multiple partners.

Although pornography can often be grouped with sex addiction, it is not the main focus of the illness. Nor is sex with another usually the focus of pornography addiction.

Due to the nature of addiction, individuals may experience symptoms of both or a combination of compulsions involving drug or alcohol abuse.

Social Risks Associated with Pornography Addiction

There are many potential social risks involved for those suffering from porn addiction. The risks can affect you and those around you.

  • Relationship problems: Most people suffering from a pornography addiction struggle to form and maintain healthy relationships. As your addiction to pornographic material grows, the less likely you will want to spend less time with your partner, either physically or emotionally. This can lead to your partner feeling isolated, lonely and disconnected from you.
  • Sexual objectification: Most porn distributed on websites today display the act of having sex as a cold, emotionless act meant only for sexual gratification. Both men and women are portrayed as objects of desire only and not complete human beings with feelings of intimacy and love.
  • Sexual dysfunction: Sexual dysfunction due to a porn addiction can stem from feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem, guilt about the addiction, and an inability to be stimulated without including pornographic materials. Often those suffering from these issues experience decreased sexual satisfaction.
  • Mental health issues: Long-term porn addiction has been found to contribute to or exacerbate mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, as well as other mental disorders.
  • Financial problems: Although pornography is widely available for free online, video member subscriptions, personal cam sites and other related services can add up, placing financial burdens on many experiencing internet pornography addiction.

Pornography addiction is a treatable illness with the right treatment approach, so if you or someone close to you is experiencing any of these issues, we are here to help.

Does the Stigma of Porn Addiction Prevent People from Seeking Help?

Too often, individuals struggling with porn addiction are seen with negative associations and stereotypes making it difficult or embarrassing for those seeking treatment. In addition, the stigma of being associated with porn in any way often makes joining public groups like Sex Addicts Anonymous or even private support groups terrifying for those suffering in silence.

At CATCH Recovery, we understand your hesitation to reach out for help. And our commitment to confidentiality is second to none. You can start the recovery process now by calling our experienced and compassionate team of healthcare professionals. Many have sought treatment with us for their problematic pornography use, and with over 40 years of experience, our treatment approach provides the necessary support for long-term recovery success.

How to Reach Out for Help

Once you’ve committed to working through your problem, the next step is to call us and schedule a confidential assessment with our team at CATCH Recovery. As part of your treatment plan, we will evaluate the severity of your illness and discuss the range of options available.

Our treatment programmes are confidential and discrete; we can offer in-person or online therapy sessions that will be scheduled around your busy schedule.

Treating Porn Addiction

All treatment services provided by CATCH Recovery will depend on how pornography is impacting your life. Your dedicated therapist may recommend individual, group, and/or family counselling as part of our offering.

Treating the psychological aspects of porn addiction will give you the tools to maintain long-term abstinence. Our multidisciplinary and holistic approach will explore the deep-rooted nature of your compulsive behaviour towards pornography.

The Goal of Treatment

We believe that addiction is an illness that needs to be managed effectively. Like all illnesses, certain exposures may trigger unwanted symptoms. The goal, therefore, is to help:

  • Understand the negative implications of your porn addiction
  • Recognise the impact it may be having on intimate relationships
  • Develop healthy alternatives to online porn
  • Identify if a mental health disorder may be contributing to your compulsive behaviour
  • Explore triggers or stressors that contribute to negative sexual behaviour
  • Treat porn addiction at its core.

The Importance of Family Support

Porn addiction can damage your sex life with intimidating partners, so part of your treatment may include couples counselling to address any difficult feelings or emotions expressed by loved ones. Partners may experience:

  • Feelings of inadequacy due to poor sex performance or lack of a sex life altogether
  • Concerns that you are having other sexual relationships
  • Guilt that your sexual urges are a result of something they are doing wrong
  • Frustration due to dishonesty around your time spent watching porn.

The Role of Therapy

We use only evidence-based therapies, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), trauma therapy and relationship counselling. You will be assigned a dedicated therapist who specialises in porn addiction treatment. Our service is based in South-West London for those who prefer face-to-face sessions, but our online programmes can be accessed anywhere in the UK. Both in-person and online sessions offered by the team at CATCH Recovery provide the highest levels of care and efficacy.

Bringing families and loved ones together during treatment is essential to recovery. Addiction is often a family illness requiring ongoing collaboration and support.

Porn Addiction

Things You Can Do Right Now

The following advice is not intended to treat the psychological aspect of porn addiction, but it does offer valuable insights and tips for staying in control.

Make Viewing Pornography Inconvenient

The availability of porn is often the biggest barrier to treatment. Viewing porn is as convenient as picking up your phone and browsing the internet, but there are things you can do to block certain websites from being accessed. Start by deleting any saved apps or links on your computer or phone, and consider installing blockers on all your devices. This software will make it difficult for you to access websites that contain pornographic material. Have someone else set the passwords for the blocking apps so you don’t feel the urge to override any settings during those difficult moments.

Figure Out What Your Triggers Are

Although it may take some time, learning what triggers your addictive behaviour is vital to maintaining a successful recovery. These can be anything from stress-related situations to boredom and are often due to wanting to escape, avoid and dissociate from what’s happening around you. You can work towards accepting these conditions as part of your life and find healthier ways to respond to them. Your dedicated therapist will help explore these triggers as part of your recovery plan.

Accept Support from Others

Admitting to yourself you have a problem is one thing; opening yourself up to others about your addiction can be scary and rewarding all at the same time. Accepting that you need help does not make you weak. It is one of the strongest things you can do and an important step on the journey. Stay open to those willing to support you during your recovery process, and be willing to love yourself enough to accept the help other people are willing to give you.

Reconnect With Relationships

Relationships are vital during recovery and for your long-term abstinence. How you interact with your partner or loved one, with family and close friends can all positively or negatively affect your recovery process. You most likely distanced yourself from many close relationships during your addiction. Now is the time to repair and rebuild them and allow them to become a part of your new, healthier lifestyle choice.

Have Compassion for Yourself

You may experience strong guilt and shame around your porn addiction which further impacts your mental health. Hence, developing compassion for yourself and understanding that your addiction is not your fault is an important step in recovery.

Practice Mindfulness

At CATCH Recovery, we believe in a holistic approach to wellness, including mindfulness activities such as yoga and meditation practice. Practising mindfulness allows you to focus on difficult feelings in the present moment. Meditation as a whole can help to reduce stress, which in turn can help to reduce compulsive desires.

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