When people think about overcoming addiction, most associate the process with substance abuse and trying to overcome drug or alcohol addiction. While these can be serious issues, they are certainly not the only addiction that might require professional help. Millions of people every year succumb to the clutches of pornography and find themselves unable to stop viewing and consuming it, resulting in an addiction that can destroy families and ruin marriages. If you are having trouble overcoming the damaging impacts of pornography, there is help available.
The Signs of Addiction
Perhaps the hardest part of overcoming a pornography addiction is simply being able to admit that there is a problem and seeking help. Pornography distributors design their product to be addictive—something that seems to provide pleasure and that you don’t want to stop viewing. Here are some of the signs that you might have an addiction:
- Early or frequent exposure, either starting at a young age and/or becoming part of your everyday life
- An “escalation” phase where your current viewing habits aren’t enough to satisfy your addiction so you begin seeking out more graphic or extreme pornography
- Desensitization to the frequency or graphic nature of the porn that you are viewing, to the point that most porn doesn’t satisfy you anymore
- Making the leap from the virtual to the real world, where you start trying to act out sexual fantasies you used to simply view
When you can’t put pornography down, you keep going back for more, and your desire to watch it overcomes your desire to spend time with a spouse or significant other, or gets in the way of a healthy sexual relationship, it’s time to seek help.
Getting Help for Porn Addiction
Effective treatment for pornography addiction is similar to effective treatment for alcohol or drug abuse, which may include some or all of the following:
- Individual therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Group therapy
- 12-step or other similar programs
- Support groups
When you enter a program, you must agree to cease all porn viewing, as even minimal exposure could lead you down the same destructive path and impede your progress in overcoming addiction. Your therapist may also require that you abstain from other potentially damaging sexual behaviors, which means you will have to be honest with him or her about these behaviors and habits.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy will also seek to break the addict from harmful denials that can get in the way of true progress, identifying rationalizations that the addict uses to justify viewing pornography. This type of treatment also seeks to find the triggers that might lead to a relapse and try to provide you with alternatives to overcome temptation.
Surrounding Yourself With Support
Just like any addiction, one of the best ways to succeed in removing it from your life is to be around others who are working through their own healing process or who have been through it in the past. That’s where support groups, group therapy, and 12-step programs come in. Participating in these activities can help a person realize they are not alone and find strategies to overcome the shame and guilt that often come with addiction.
While we have discussed some of the similarities between porn addiction and alcohol or drug addiction, it is important to note that an addiction to pornography does come with some unique challenges. That’s why you should seek out a treatment program with certified counselors and therapists with experience to help you overcome.
If pornography has taken over your life and you feel like you’ve lost control, find a pornography addiction program today and get your life back.