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Am I Addicted to Porn?

A man in a dark room on a laptop

It’s not difficult to seek out and view pornography today. You can even stumble upon it accidentally. But for some people, the use of porn develops into an all-consuming need. They seek it out and think about it almost constantly. If you’re one of those people, you may be asking yourself, “Am I addicted to porn?”

What is Porn Addiction?

A porn addiction develops when your behavior starts impacting your daily responsibilities and relationships. For example, when you choose to watch pornography over spending time with your family or doing your work.

Porn addiction is a behavioral addiction because people repeat a set of compulsive actions to achieve a certain feeling — to feel better emotionally. In addition, porn addiction can be an intimacy disorder because some people use porn to keep from developing intimacy with another person.

Porn addiction happens in the brain. When you watch porn, the brain’s reward center is activated. Once the reward center is activated, your brain wishes to keep feeling this positive release of dopamine that occurs during the process. To get this feeling, the brain encourages you to watch porn more frequently and even seek out more intense porn experiences to get the same release. 

Despite the addiction factor, not everyone who watches porn has an addiction. But porn viewing can be problematic for some people. While they don’t know exactly what sparks porn addiction, mental health experts agree that certain factors make you more likely to become addicted. 

Factors that make a person more prone to porn addiction include:

  • Ease of Access. The internet makes access to pornography much easier than in the past.
  • Past Conflicts. Issues with past relationships or conflicts within your home life.
  • Familial History. Personal or family drug addiction or past physical or sexual abuse. 
  • Sexual Views. Growing up with or developing unhealthy views about sex.

A man looking guilty about opening his laptop

Signs of Porn Addiction

People with porn addiction share similar symptoms. The most important way to answer the question, “Am I addicted to porn?” is to recognize whether it impacts your daily life. Beyond that, you can consider whether you show additional, more specific signs of porn addiction.

Signs of porn addiction include:

  • Intrusive Thoughts. Thinking about porn when you’re not watching it or when you try not to think about it. 
  • Hiding Usage. Trying to hide the type or amount of porn you view, even from your partner. This secrecy may include clearing your browser history, lying, or viewing porn outside of the home to keep from getting caught.
  • Increased Usage. You spend an increasing amount of time watching porn and it still doesn’t seem to be enough. You give up other activities or neglect responsibilities to spend more time watching porn. And may even find yourself watching porn at inappropriate times, like while you’re at work.
  • Inability to Quit. You may have noticed that your porn habits interfere with your life and relationships. You may have tried to stop or reduce usage and found that you can’t quit. 
  • Dissatisfaction. You feel unsatisfied until you watch porn. Likewise, you may be unsatisfied with your sex life or partner unless porn is involved.
  • Risky Behavior. Over time, people with porn addictions escalate their behavior. For example, they seek more intense or graphic types of porn or watch porn in more public places.
  • Shame and Guilt. People with porn addictions feel shame or guilt related to their behaviors. These feelings may even result in more porn viewing because they want to feel better emotionally.
  • Using Porn to Cope. People with porn addictions use pornography to cope with negative emotions and feel better for a short time.  
  • Debt. You spend increasing amounts of money on porn, perhaps even putting yourself into debt.
  • Increased Need. Not only do you continue to watch more porn, but you also need to watch increasingly more extreme porn to get the same release.

How Porn Addiction Negatively Impacts Your Life

Porn addiction begins to negatively impact a person’s life over time, just like any other type of addiction or mental health issue left untreated. Therefore, if you think you may be addicted to porn, you should seek help. 

You should seek help for a porn addiction when:

  • You Can’t Function. Porn viewing keeps you from functioning in your daily life. 
  • You Develop Other Mental Health Issues. The guilt or shame you feel causes you to develop other mental health issues like depression. 
  • Your Behavior is Risky. You feel like you need to engage in increasingly risky behavior to get the same release. 
  • You Risk Financial Stability. You spend increasing amounts of money on pornography to the point that you can’t pay your bills.
  • You Harm Relationships. You neglect others around you because you’re trying to keep your addiction a secret. 
  • You Fail to Keep Commitments. You spend so much time watching porn that you can’t get your work done, or you’ve stopped spending time with friends or family members.
  • You Can’t Stop. You’ve tried unsuccessfully to stop watching porn, but you can’t seem to stop on your own.

How Integrative Life Center Can Help

Are you addicted to porn? If you show any of the signs, you might be. Integrative Life Center offers unique therapy to help you get control of your porn addiction. Our heart-centered and trauma-informed therapy techniques are available to you during your recovery. If you’re ready to take control of your life and addiction, take the first step today by contacting us

 

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