Heather Fisher Recovery Services

Sex / Pornography

Medical News Today defines pornography addictions as “a person becoming emotionally dependent on pornography to the point that it interferes with their daily life, relationships, and ability to function.” Porn addiction itself is not a medical disease but falls under the umbrella category of process addiction or behavioral addiction.

What Causes Porn Addiction?

There is no one identifiable cause of an individual becoming emotionally dependent on porn. The comfort, rush, and “high” that an individual gets from constantly watching porn is triggered by the part of the brain responsible for thoughts, judgment, and emotional regulation, the same part of the brain that is affected by substance addiction. Pornography is easily accessible and something that is easy to do in private. The availability of porn could be a factor in what draws individuals towards it to use as a coping tool.

Individuals could be at a higher risk for developing porn addiction if they :

  • Struggle with a drug or alcohol use disorder
  • Have other types of mental health diagnosis such as bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder
  • Are you struggling with family conflict or other drastically life-changing events
  • Have a history of physical or sexual abuse

Compulsion VS Addiction

Porn addiction is not a disease recognized in the DSM-5. It is important to know the difference between a compulsion and an addiction when trying to figure out if watching pornography is a severe problem for you or a loved one.

A compulsion is a repetitive behavior with no rational motivation but is often engaged in to reduce anxiety.

Addiction is a destructive behavior that, despite negative consequences and the desire to stop, an individual cannot do so.

Porn viewing habits may be a cause for concern if:

  • You are unable to resist porn even though it’s disrupting your daily life
  • Are unable to enjoy sex without viewing porn
  • Are facing negative consequences as a result of watching porn i.e.: job termination, divorce, financial issues
  • The amount of time you watch porn keeps increasing
  • You neglect responsibilities such as sleeping or working due to watching porn
  • Force your romantic or sexual partner to view porn or act out porn fantasies or other sexual activities even when they don’t want to.

If left untreated, porn addiction can lead to poor relationship quality, low self-esteem, and lack of sexual satisfaction, as well as other social problems and implications.

Sex & Pornography Addiction Screening

Adapted from NCPG/SOGS and DSM-5
Responses should be based on behavior over the past 90 days

NOTE: Addiction is progressive, chronic and 100% recoverable when treated.

Disclaimer: This screening is not designed to make a diagnosis or take the place of a professional diagnosis
consultation. Use this brief screening tool to help determine if further action is recommended.
For help in selecting the proper level of treatment in your area please contact our office.

Treatment For Porn Addiction

If porn-watching habits are a problem for you or you are helping a loved one, addiction treatment and mental health treatment are available. Seeing an individual therapist, seeking support groups, staging an intervention, or attending inpatient rehab or an outpatient treatment program, may help you resolve the underlying conflicts of the addictive behaviors. Some effective treatment modalities that have been used to help individuals overcome porn addiction include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): The modality focuses on changing destructive and disturbing patterns of thinking that negatively influence a person’s life to meet goals

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): DBT is a treatment approach that helps individuals learn to gain and utilize emotional coping skills and tools to build distress tolerance. DBT skill-building helps individuals gain confidence, improve relationships, and self-actualize.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy: focuses on becoming more aware of unconscious thoughts and behaviors, learning about your motivations, and resolving conflict

Antidepressants: medications used to treat anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder

Naltrexone: medication that blocks the part of your brain that gets pleasure from addictive behaviors

Anti-androgens: For men; medication that dulls the effects of male sex hormones