These days pornography addiction is attracting more and more media attention. Increasingly, we are seeing a growing number of people in our therapy clinics who are seeking help to deal with it.
The Internet places pornography at the tip of our fingers. With the click of a mouse anyone can access all manner of porn.
What happens when online pornography viewing snowballs and becomes out of control? At what point does it become an addiction? How can the porn addict access the help they need?
Though pornography addiction is not yet officially recognized by the American Psychological Association or the British Psychological Association, this does not mean that it does not exist.
The criteria for identifying pornography addiction is very similar to other addictions. Does reading, watching, thinking about, and/or viewing pornography interfere with a person’s work, personal life, relationships, social interactions or family life? If this question is answered in the affirmative, then the person may well have a pornography addiction.
What are some of the main things that make porn addiction a greater problem than in the past?
It’s easier than ever before to view pornography. Before the availability of Internet pornography, people had to physically enter an ‘adult’ video store, or purchase a magazine from a shop. Now, with just a quick search on the Internet, anyone can gain access to a practically limitless array of free pornography in the privacy of their own home.
A recent study reported that 42% of children have been exposed to pornography on the Internet before the age of 18. In times passed, access to porn was more difficult, but with the advent of the Internet, children have a far greater probability of being exposed to it from an early age.
Some experts believe that tolerance to pornography is built up in a similar manner to alcohol and other substances. The more pornography an addict consumes, the more the person needs in order to get turned on. The Internet offers an unlimited supply of content with around 420 million different pornography websites available.
How can the porn addict access the help they need?
As pornography addiction becomes more common and receives more attention, our understanding of it grows. As our understanding improves, so does our ability to successfully treat this issue.
The first step to recovery lies in ending the denial and recognizing that there is a problem and that the person is addicted. Once this is accomplished, there are several helpful and effective ways to treat pornography addiction.
Numerous 12-Step programs — both on and offline — offer help with this particular addiction. Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) are two such popular organizations. Anyone experiencing pornography addiction would be wise to seek individual therapy or counselling. Hypnotherapy can also be of enormous help in overcoming this pernicious addiction. Working with a professional who has experience in this area, the addict can learn to control their addiction and return to a freer way of life.