Recognizing and Conquering Pornography Addiction
- by Peter James Field, leading psychotherapist with practices in London and Birmingham, England. He is author of numerous articles on psychotherapy, a Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and Fellow of the Royal Society of Health. Pornography addiction is getting more and more attention in the media these days. What happens when it gets out of control? At what point does it become an addiction? How can someone who is struggling with porn addiction get help? These days, pornography addiction is receiving more and more attention in the media. From teenagers whose school work is seriously affected, to celebrities in the public eye, it's a subject that is worthy of more research.
The Internet offers endless possibilities for viewing pornography with the click of a mouse. What happens when looking at porn online snowballs out of control? When does it become an addiction? How to get help?
Pornography addiction is not yet recognized by the American Psychological Association as a psychological disorder (as many other addictions are), but greater focus is now being given to this problem and an ever increasing number of people are seeking help in this area.
The criteria for identifying pornography addiction is very similar to other addictions. Does reading, watching, thinking about, and/or viewing pornography interfere with your work, personal life, relationships, social interactions or family life? If you answer yes to this question, you could have a pornography addiction.
What are some of the issues that make pornography addiction more of a problem than it has been in the past?
It's easier than ever before to access pornography. Before Internet porn, a person had to enter a sex shop, adult video store, or physically purchase an adult magazine. It required a certain degree of personal disclosure -- taking the magazine, video or DVD to the cashier meant that you would be identified as a pornography consumer, which of course deterred quite a few people from consuming it in the first place. Now, with a quick Internet search, anyone can have access to practically unlimited porn -- much of it free -- in the privacy of their own home.
Whereas in the past access to this kind of thing would be rare and difficult to obtain, with the Internet children have a good chance of being exposed to it from an early age. According to recent research, fully 42% of children have been exposed to Internet porn before the age of 18.
Some experts believe that tolerance is built up when it comes to pornography addiction, much as tolerance is built up with alcohol addiction or other substances. The need to view pornography appears to increase with the amount the addict views. With around 420 million different pornography websites available, the Internet offers a practically unlimited supply.
As pornography addiction becomes more common and receives more attention, our understanding of it grows. Our ability to effectively treat this problem increases as our understanding of its nature expands. One possible way to view pornography addiction is to see it as a form of sex addiction. Currently, there are several helpful and effective ways that it may be treated. In addition to 12 step programs such as Sex Addicts Anonymous, and Sexual Compulsives Anonymous, there are a number of recovery programs, both on and offline that offer help with this addiction. Individual therapy is also available. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and hypnotherapy can be particlarly helpful for those seeking to manage this addiction.
If you, or someone you care about is experiencing difficulty because of pornography, help is available. Given the right kind of help or therapy, this is an issue that can be overcome.